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Animacy, Inverse Systems and Word Order

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Monday, November 3, 2003, 6:47
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?

Second, assume the following:

1.) togo = man
2.) luka = wolf
3.) mata = see
4.) -s = inverse
5.) Humans are considered to be of higher animacy than animals.
6.) Verb-final word order.

According to the above system, both /togo luka mata/ and /luka togo mata/
would mean "The man sees the wolf."

However, let's say a language has preferred SOV word order.   Would this mean
that you would never see /luka togo mata/?   Or are there systems where the
noun with higher animacy must *necessarily* precede/follow the noun with lesser
animacy, making one of the two word orders impossible?   And, if this is so,
let's say that you'd have:

togo luka mata = The man sees the wolf.
*luka togo mata = The man sees the wolf.

When you got an inverse marker in there, would the rules conflict--the ruler
that the noun of higher animacy must come first, and the rule that states
mandatory word order:

?togo luka matas = The wolf sees the man.
?luka togo matas = The wolf sees the man.

I don't really know much about animacy/inverse systems, so I was wondering.
Also, does having case obviate the need for an inverse system?

Thanks in advance!



JS Bangs <jaspax@...>
Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>