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Agreement Idea

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Tuesday, May 29, 2007, 19:57
I just finished grading one of my student's finals, and, as a result,
came up with a bizarre agreement idea.

Let's say a language had ten or so noun classes, SOV word order,
and the verb, instead of agreeing with the subject, or the object,
or anything like that, simply agreed with whatever the closest
argument was:

Class I: ka-
Class II: me-
Class III: ri-
Class IV: tu-

Oh, and let's say /-i/ dative, /-u/ accusative, /-e/ instrumental,
/-o/ past tense:

(1) kaven meluri ritapu tunese tuxoro.
/I-man II-woman-DAT III-flower-ACC IV-tongs-INS IV-give-PAST/
"The man gave the woman a flower with tongs."

And, of course, word order would have to be variable for this
to be interesting:

(2) kaven meluri tunese ritapu rixoro.
(3) kaven tunese ritapu meluri mexoro.
(4) tunese ritapu meluri kaven kaxoro.

And it'd be even more interesting with relative clauses:

(5) kaven meluri se ridum rijalo tunese tuxoro.
/I-man II-woman-DAT REL. III-frog III-see-PAST IV-flower-INS IV-give-
"The man gave the woman the frog saw a flower."

Which could then become...

(6) kaven tunese meluri se ridum rijalo rixoro.

Then at this point, I suppose you could associate whatever
pragmatic meaning (or even grammatical meaning) you wanted
to the use of agreement.  Perhaps the only way a verb could be
fronted was if it was fronted with the NP it agrees with...

All right, back to grading.

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison


Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Eugene Oh <un.doing@...>