|Date:||Friday, August 15, 2003, 20:08|
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andreas Johansson" <andjo@...>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: Ergativity
> Quoting Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>:
> > Chris Bates wrote:
> > >
> > > Okay, I give in... *sigh* I don't want to argue anymore lol... even
> > > though it makes no sense to me whatsoever I accept that people call
> > > languages that do that ergative. I just don't accept that it makes
> > > sense... I'm a mathematician, we like clear cut definitions for allour
> > > terms.
> > Well, mathematics is one of the few areas that allows for absolute,
> > clear-cut divisions. :-) There's just no way to divide languages
> > easily and uncontroversially into types. Labels are just conveniences.
> > Just as there's no such thing as a purely isolating, or purely fusional,
> > or purely agglutinating language, so there's no such thing as a purely
> > ergative language. It's a matter of degree. Some languages, such as
> > Hindi will even use ergative marking in the past tense, but accusative
> > marking in the present tense. :-)
> > But, here's my question. If a language marks nouns with S & P one way,
> > and A another, but verbs agree with S & A, and S/A is an obligatory
> > argument, what would you call it? It's not purely ergative, and it's
> > not purely accusative. I suppose you could call it "mixed", but then in
> > that case, there'd be no language on Earth that would be called
> > "ergative". Ergative languages generally have at least *some*
> > accusative features.
> Does this mean that there are purely accusative languages around?
English seems pretty pure accusative. I don't know enough about Ergative
languages to give an example of one of them, but from what I've heard,
Basque is a good example of a pure Ergative lang...