Ellipsis (was: Re: Italian Particles)
|From:||Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>|
|Date:||Monday, April 24, 2000, 13:24|
On Thu, 22 Apr 0100 02:52:09 -0400, John Cowan <cowan@...>
>Sally Caves scripsit:
>> So... what you're saying is that analytic languages, like English, are
>> PERFORCE subject first? Or verb subject? Hmmm. I don't see why that
>> can't be formally broken.
>I think there is a pressure toward SVO in languages that don't mark case,
>simply so that ellipsis works: you can have VO or SV, and there's no doubt
>what's meant. In verb-first or verb-last languages, it's not clearwhether
>a single argument is S or O.
I suspect that enabling ellipsis is not so mandatory.
For example, in English, you can't say simply 'Reads' in reply to a
question like 'What does he do?' (Or at least I was taught you can't;
L1 speakers may correct me). You must say 'He reads' - a very strange
thing for the speakers of more synthetic langs.
In many cases you can't omit the object. This may be partly conditioned
by the common transitive/intransitive homonymy ('Burn!' wouldn't mean
the same as 'Burn it!'), but there must be other factors involved (can
you ever say in English simply 'Give!' or 'Take!', I wonder? And why,
Similarly, I think SOV (OSV, VSO, VOS) languages may prohibit certain
types of elliptic structures (e. g. requiring a pronominal filler in
I see a lot of possibilities here (which mostly seem incompatible
within one lang): 'Don't omit the subject', 'Don't drop the object',
'Don't leave out what would stand closest to the verb in the
non-emphatic construction', etc.
Have anybody played with this in their conlangs?