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

From:Markus Miekk-oja <m13kk0@...>
Date:Saturday, July 30, 2005, 14:38
>From: Henrik Theiling <theiling@...> >Reply-To: Constructed Languages List <CONLANG@...> >To: >Subject: Re: THEORY: "Quirky" Case -- "Quirky" Subjects and "Quirky" >Objects >Date: Sat, 30 Jul 2005 14:35:58 +0200 > >Hi! > >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.
and my point is that there is going on other things under the surface here. I can imagine that it's something like this in German: Sp= subject phrase, VP = verb phrase. There might be errors in here, I'm not very good at representing X-bar with [] instead of trees. SP[S'[S'[S[0] [some kind of complement to the subject phrase.dat/acc/whatever]]VP[....]]] but like this in Icelandic: SP[S'[S'[S[Nom.ACC/DAT/NOM]]VP[...] In Icelandic, the quirky case subject commands the verb phrase by virtue of being the head of the SP, in German it does not command the verb phrase by virtue of not being the head of the SP.
>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.
Indeed - such ellipsis is impossible in German.
> > 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.
On account of not being able to take reflexives, nor to be elided in coordinated sentences. And I think this depends on them not commanding the verb phrase in the same way that a subject normally does, and this depends on underlying syntactic reasons. -- Markus _________________________________________________________________ Don't just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search!


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>