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Only One Core Argument

From:Kristian Jensen <kljensen@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 16, 1998, 15:51
Sam Bryant's query into case names reminded me of a similar problem
I had with case names in Boreanesian. I had also stumbled upon
problems in naming the core arguments in my conlang.

Like some of you may already know, Boreanesian is a trigger language
like the West-Austronesian languages of the Philippines, Borneo,
Sulawesi, and Madagascar. My own view of how these languages are
structured (especially in connection with Boreanesian) is that the
notion of object (as opposed to subject) is not applicable to
trigger languages. There is essentially only one core argument,
*not* two. Other languages have two core arguments which can be
either; absolutive and ergative, nominative and accusative, or a
mixed (split) system. With only one core argument in Boreanesian, I
was not sure whether to call this argument absolutive, ergative,
nominative, or accusative. In fact, many linguists who specialize in
West-Austronesian languages can't seem to agree whether these
languages are ergative or nominative. Then it struck me, "why not
just call it 'core', since its the only core argument in the
language." I have since used the name. If you guys have any
suggestions to an alternative name, then by all means speak up!!

I have posted details about Boreanesian sentence structure before,
but for the sake of clarity I could post a review for those
interested (especially for the newer members on CONLANG-L). It'll
definitely demonstrate what I mean by a language with only one core
argument. For those of you who are interested in trigger languages
in general, it may certainly be of interest.

-Kristian- 8-)