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Re: Ergativity

From:takatunu <takatunu@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 13, 2003, 8:00
Joe wrote:
I think the phrase 'soup cooks' is an Anglicism. I would translate 'Robert cooks' and 'soup cooks' as Robert<abs> cooks, and Soup<abs> cooks<passive>, respectively. <<< Oh! That's an intersting analysis... But in English passive voice is tagged with either a suffix (-ed, -t) or an inflection (and sometimes both) and I think--and may be wrong as well--that "soup cooks" is usually called a mediopassive rather than a passive. In Japanese the base voice of "to cook" is active transitive ("to cook something"), like "to cut", "to do", etc., while the base voice of "to open", "to break", etc., is mediopassive intransitive. sur-u (do), kir-u (cut), tak-u (cook) = active transitive ak-u (open), kudak-u (break) = mediopassive intransitive kir-eru (to get cut) = mediopassive intransitive ak-eru (to open), kudak-eru (to break) = active transitive Japanese verbal voices combine "active", "ergative" (or "factitive" voice), "mediopassive", "absolutive", "transitive", "intransitive" in kinds of ways (a bit like Hebrew verbal voices). You can hop and hop again: From one kind of transitive to intransitive: tsunag-u (to connect something to) = transitive tsunag-aru (to connect to) = intransitive From that kind of intransitive to another kind of transitive: maw-aru (to rotate) = intransitive maw-asu (to make rotate) = transitive From that other kind of transitive to another kind of intransitive: moy-asu (to burn) = transitive mo-eru (to burn) = intransitive From that other kind of intransitive to the first kind of transitive: kir-eru (to cut) = intransitive kir-u (to cut) = transitive IMHO -asu is a factitive suffix (by contrast to the causative -(s)aseru), -aru is mediopassive and -eru switches transitive to/fro intransitive or makes a factitive into a causative. The only unknown factor is the -u suffix which does not tell whether the verb is transitive or intransitive in the first place, and that's why -u/-eru pairs are tricky :-)


Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>