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Re: Tagalog - response to takatunu (was Re: Help: Ergative VOS

From:takatunu <takatunu@...>
Date:Thursday, December 25, 2003, 20:43
Isaac Penzev <isaacp@...> wrote:
That's why I sorta like the term "possessive typology" I met in some books
written by ex-USSR linguists, as contrasted to "accusative", "ergative" and
"active" ones. I mentioned it in one of my earlier msgs, but it may be lost
snwstorm chats :)
I've read a line about this "possessive" stuff in "L'Homme de parole" de C. Hagège. This guy and others have an interesting theory about active nom-axcc verbal systems. They say its axis is the psychological notion of "contrôle." The subject of the active verb is the argument considered as "controling" the process "more(!)" than the object is. I like this theory because it kind of explains why certain verbs would promote one argument as the natural subject (that is, the "agent" for the verb-agent-patient theoricists) and the other one as object (or "patient")rather than reversely although sometimes none or both of them would feature "cause", "will" or "experience" (like in most of verbs featuring a situation or locative meaning.) For instance: "The snow covers the field." (The covering item is "in control" of the covered item.) "The baby wears a T-shirt." (The worn item is "controled" by the person wearing it.) "The pond contains water." (Maybe some "possessor-attribute" notion here as well.) "The man sees the tree." (Maybe the tree is a kind of visual "prey?" :-)) I've read some people on the Internet claiming you can guess which argument is picked as subject by picking the one that could be considered as an "instrument", that is a "substitute" to a sentient agent (and some other contend this.) But picking the one that is more loosely considered "in control" is maybe more telling, isn't it?