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Re: Agents and patients

From:FFlores <fflores@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 15, 2000, 13:58
Jens_Daniel Persson <stockbaum@...> wrote:

>... or let the verb agree with whatever's in topic in a sentence.
>The verb will then agree with the part-of-speech that is highest on the >hierarchy and present in the sentence
I've decided to do both things, actually: topic, first constituent and first in hierarchy will always be the same (see my previous post). Topics are fronted; but you can't front anything if it breaks the hierarchy, so you must change the case first. It makes for some easy patterns: AGT/PAT/DAT/OBL becomes 1/2/3/4, and sentences come like this (numbers are case of the constituent): 1 (2) = volitional (transitive or not) 3 4 = trans, non-volitional 2 (generally) = intransitive, non-volitional 2 4 = volitional, patient is topic ('passive') agent (case 1) is demoted to oblique (case 4) 2 3 = non-volitional; oblique (= source, case 4) is promoted to patient (case 2). The verb agrees with the topic, which is the highest in the hierarchy. It looks a bit strange to me, I must confess, since I'm conditioned from birth to subject agreement (or S-O double agreement at most)... --Pablo Flores ... I cannot combine any characters that the divine Library has not foreseen, which in some of its secret tongues do not bear some terrible meaning. No-one can articulate a syllable not filled of caresses and fears, that is not, in some one of those languages, the powerful name of a god... Jorge Luis Borges, _The Library of Babel_