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Re: Ergativity

From:Markus Miekk-oja <fam.miekk-oja@...>
Date:Thursday, August 14, 2003, 19:50
Markus Miekk-oja:
>Well, English is not the measure for nominative-accusative languages. In >Finnish, you can say "cooked the rice" (in certain constructions), and
there M. Astrand:
>Not like this had much to do with the actual subject of the thread, but I >don't understand you. >In which constructions can you say "cooked the rice" in Finnish where you >cannot say it in English? Or did you mean another Finnish sentence
>("Cooked the rice" does not mean "the rice cooked" in the ones above...)
"Cooked the rice" is not the best example, but in conditional clauses, there can be a 0-subject with presen-tense third person verbs, (that is without them actually having a real third person subject existing, just a "hypothethic person"). Similar constructions exist in other languages in non-conditional enviroments too. Finnish is quite restrictive as far as this goes, but in that context, empty subjects is allowed. But anyway, you can't say "if cooked the rice, then so and so" in English, but you can basically do it in Finnish. This is used to express "universal conditionals" - "if one is sick, it pays off to eat medicine". My point was, just because English prohibits this, there's no reason to assume very nominative system does it, thereby there's no reason to assume that an ergative system must be limited in the same (but opposite) way as English (as far as what argument-dropping does to syntax goes) - when not even nominative systems aret limited in the same way as English.


Costentin Cornomorus <elemtilas@...>