Re: THEORY: "Quirky" Case -- "Quirky" Subjects and "Quirky" Objects
|From:||Thomas Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Friday, July 29, 2005, 17:29|
> 1a) How many, and what, cases can grammatically be given to the
In my experience, virtually any case can be assigned to the grammatical
subject (assuming, of course, the language has a subject function).
> 1b) What language holds the record for most cases the Subject
> can have? What is the record?
It's sometimes difficult to tell, since most people are not very
clear what they mean by 'subject'. There are formal tests to determine
what the subject is, and in many cases the topicalized nonnominative
argument does not have these properties despite being in 'subject
position'. For example, it is my understanding that in the German
sentence, the dative argument of _gefallen_ 'to please' cannot
(a) Mir gefaellt das Buch.
'I like the book'
(b) *Ihm gefaellt sich.
'He likes himself'
So, although there are plenty of languages with topicalized dative,
genitive, or instrumental arguments (e.g. Russian), it's not clear
that these languages have so many nonnominative subjects.
> 2a) How many, and what, cases can grammatically be given to the Object?
> 2b) What language holds the record for most cases the Object can
> have? What is the record?
In my experience, languages are far freer in assigning lexical case
to objects than to subjects. As such, it seems more likely to closely
track the language that has the most cases overall, which would be
Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637