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Re: THEORY: "Quirky" Case -- "Quirky" Subjects and "Quirky" Objects

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Friday, July 29, 2005, 22:23
Tom wrote:
David, you said Latin had case-governing verbs for each case except
Vocative, such that the verb in question requires its subject to be
in that case.
Is there a Transitive case-governing verb for each Subject case?

I'm pretty sure the answer is "yes", but I can't find my paper listing
what exactly the cases of Latin did (and the same goes for objects).

Tom continues:
I forgot to add my "signature" question about Ditransitives;

3a) In ditransitive sentences, how many, and which, grammatical cases
can be assigned to each of the core arguments --
grammatical/syntactic subject, grammatical/syntactic direct object,
grammatical/syntactic indirect object?
3b) For each of the core arguments, which language holds the record
for most grammatical cases assignable to that grammatical/syntactic
role? And what is that record number?

First, I have to say that these questions strike me as rather bizarre.
Why would it matter if a given language has the largest number of
cases that can be assigned to role X?  Or the fewest?  Or an average
number?  Additionally, why does it matter which cases?  If you can
come up with a story for it, then that pretty much licenses it in a

Anyway, one paper I recommend reading is one I referred to in
my ergativity reference, but which, heretofore, was apparently
improperly linked to, and, even more embarrassingly, was misattributed
(don't know *where* I got "Stepher" S. Dryer).  It's a small, readable
paper on clause types that deals with ergativity and  ditransitivity
by Matthew Dryer.  It can be downloaded from my site here (because
I can't find it on the web anymore):

Plus, if anyone can find a place to download it on the web, let me know.

Are David and Markus saying that in "Quirky Case" languages, the
grammatical/morphological case assigned to any core-argument nominal,
is wholly semantically determined (by the lexical verb among other
information), not ever just a function of the grammatical/syntactic
role it has as a core-argument?

Well, to what extent is *anything* purely syntactic?  If there's a
rule that subjects take the nominative but there are a handful of
counterexamples that take the dative, then is it the case that a
syntactic subject takes the nominative case with some lexical
counterexamples, or is it the case that verb lexically assign case
to arguments which occupy a certain syntactic position?  Anyway,
I suspect that much that's considered purely syntactic probably
has semantic/morphological aspects to it, as well--or even
phonological (e.g., "Screw in the lightbulb" sounds fine, but "Screw
in it" for the same intended meaning sounds a bit bizarre, and
the reason is probably just phonological).

Anyway, what are you looking to do?  I'm curious.

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

-Jim Morrison


Tim May <butsuri@...>
tomhchappell <tomhchappell@...>