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Re: Animacy, Inverse Systems and Word Order

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Monday, November 3, 2003, 19:27
On 3 Nov 2003 at 10:44, JS Bangs wrote:

> Caveat lector: I am not an expert on animacy systems, but the following > reflect what I know from my reading. > > > I'm toying with a new language that has animacy as well as an inverse system. > > I have a couple of questions about natural languages with inverse systems > > (i.e., what's attested, what's not). > > > > First: Do languages with animacy and inverse systems ever have noun cases? > > I don't believe so. You can have case with either animacy *or* an inverse > system, but if you have all three one of them seems like it'll be > redundant.
I'd say you can have case marking for roles beyond "Agent" and "Patient", like "Tool", "Towards" or "Owner". For example, how do you differentiate "Fred slammed the wolf into the door" from "Fred slammed the door into the wolf", and indeed from "The wolf slammed Fred into the door"? My guess is you need some kind of case mechanism for verbs with more than two arguments. OTOH, I can easily imagine that conlangs with animacy and inversing might have periphrasic aux-verb-based ways of indicating other cases, which might be very naturalistic. "Fred slams the wolf. He targets the door", and so on. Paul