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Re: Ergative

From:B.Philip.Jonsson <bpj@...>
Date:Thursday, October 22, 1998, 9:33
At 19:49 -0400 on 20.10.1998, Sally Caves wrote:

> Matt: > > This isn't exactly an ergative construction, but rather a (probably) > > related construction called the "experiencer dative". Other languages > > that have experiencer dative subjects include German, Icelandic, Korean, > > Georgian, and my conlang Tokana
> Okay, so this clears up a question I asked you some time ago... I didn't > have the right term for it, only noting that what you did with Tokana > seemed similar to what the Old English do: could the impersonal verb in > Old and Middle English fall into the category of "experiencer dative > construction"? What is the history of this construction? > > Me thinketh hit gedwolsum swa to donne... > > To me seems it burdensome so to do... (giving us our "methinks" > formula)... likewise with > > me reweth (to me [it] pains/gives me sorry) ie. I pity > me listeth (to me [it] pleases) i.e. I like > etc. >
Certainly. Old Scandinavian had the same thing with the same verbs, and Icelandic still has it. There are some verbs that take "accusative subjects" too, e.g. _mig dreymdi_ "I dreamt". Note that there is no "dummy subject", i.e. not **thad dreymdi mig**. There are also some verbs that are used in experiencer dative constructions in addition to normal nom-acc uses, e.g. _mjer tekur aa bakid/haus/..._ "My back/head/... hurts" (lit. "it takes at my back/head/...".) Who said cases were only good for redundancy? ;) /BP B.Philip. Jonsson <bpj@...> Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant (Tacitus) ---------------------------------------------------------------------------