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The Balkans (was Re: Greenberg's universals for SVO languages)

From:Jesse S. Bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Sunday, September 10, 2000, 23:37
> However, virtually all languages have equi-nounphrase deletion, as with
> constructions. There is one area of the world that doesn't: the
> and it's not surprisingly a Sprachbund there. In those languages, you
have to
> say "I want that I go" instead of "I want go" or "I want to go", which
are more
> in keeping with the universal.
In Romanian (the only Balkan language that I know much of and also the only language where I'm in striking distance of fluency) this is true, but it's almost a non-point because Romanian is pro-drop. AFAIK, the other Balkan languages are too, and so saying "I want that I go" without the second "I" is meaningless, since that "I" is only indicated by an agreement ending (which obviously cannot be lost). The other option is nonsensical within Romanian, since the infinitive proper is very rare in speech, being more of a literary feature There is, however, a non-finite form which occurs after a few special verb particles. I guess you could consider this the infinitive in modern speech. However, this is limited to the direct future: voi merge (I will go) and the conditional: as merge (I would go) The verb "a putea" can take either the direct non-finite form or the finite phrasal construction: pot merge (I can go) pot sa merg (I can that I go) Jesse S. Bangs Pelíran jaspax "All for the sake of paradise, the tyrants of our generation stacked bodies higher than Nimrod stacked bricks; yet they came no nearer heaven than he did." --J. Budziszewski