Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Nouns with arguments, verbs without arguments

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Saturday, April 12, 2003, 16:51
Pablo David Flores scripsit:

> Are there really such verbs, that colloquial use cannot make > transitive? I'd thought of |llover| too, but then there's this > usage that allows a direct object (as in English). I thought > harder and there's |dormir| 'sleep', but not surprisingly, you > can say |dormir una siesta| 'take a nap'. Same for any > intransitive verb I can imagine, at least in Spanish.
English has enough verbs that can be used transitively or intransitively, to the despair of speakers of Quechua, Esperanto, or Turkish, but the process is lexically very sensitive: giving "sleep" or "go" a direct object is outrageously non-English. The exception is the even more lexically restricted use of experiencer-subject verbs as patient-subject verbs without any marking: "this bed sleeps five [people]", e.g. This can even be done in reverse with a few verbs like "eat": "I eat the roast pork" is normal, "the roast pork eats very well" is patient-subject. -- John Cowan To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all. There are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful. --_The Hobbit_