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

From:Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Date:Saturday, July 30, 2005, 12:36

Markus Miekk-oja <m13kk0@...> writes:
>... > The situation can be reversed - German, for instance, seems not to > allow what Icelandic does, and I think one reasonable interpretation > is that the underlying syntax is different - German doesn't allow > non-nominatives in the syntactical position of subjects - (this can > only be shown using syntactic trees, I'm well aware that they can go > first in a sentence in German and thus look like they were in subject > position). >...
In my recent short posting, I mentioned German not allowing that since German *does* allow subjects in dative case. That's the point, otherwise, I would not expect it to allow ellipsis of dative case subjects referring back to a nominative argument. E.g. Mir ist kalt. I.DAT is.3sg cold. 'I am cold.' Mir gefällt das Buch. / Das Buch gefällt mir. I.DAT please the book.NOM (same, different order) 'I like the book.' (Topics go first in German, so the order can be changed.) And older German allows accusative, too: Mich dürstet. I.ACC be_thirsty 'I am thirsty' Anyway: Peter mag Blumen, und ihm gefallen Bäume. Peter.NOM likes flowers.ACC and he.DAT please trees.NOM. 'Peter likes flows and he likes trees.' *Peter mag Blumen und gefallen Bäume.
> Quirky case subjects is exactly such a failure of correspondence, > esp. the Icelandic system is such. The German system differs in ways > that imho make the quirky subjects of German seem less subject-like > than in Icelandic.
In what way? Ok, there are less non-nominative subjects in German than in Icelandic, but in what way are they less subject-like? Often the typical examples of Icelandic can be translated one-to-one into German, keeping the cases. **Henrik


Markus Miekk-oja <m13kk0@...>