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Re: Impersonal Passives and Quirky Case in Subject-Prominent Languages (was: Copula)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 9:02
Eldin Raigmore wrote:

> Some cased languages have some verbs which lexically select that their > subject, or their object, must be marked with a case that reflects the noun- > phrase's semantic role, rather than its grammatical relation. >
You mean like Latin: taedet illum [acc.] vitae [gen.] = He is tired of life tui [gen.] me [acc.] miseret = I pity you me [acc.] stultitiae meae [gen.] pudet = I am ashamed of my folly. In all the above the verbs have no grammatical subject, i.e. they are impersonal. The English subject is the Latin direct object (accusative case), presumably because they are felt to be the patient that suffers or experiences weariness, pity and shame respectively. The English direct object is expressed by a genitive in Latin, showing the _origin_ of the weariness etc. Interestingly, 'me miseret' could also be expressed by the passive 'misereor' - the latter is sometimes given, wrongly, as a deponent verb meaning "I pity". It does, of course, mean "I pity", but it ain't deponent - it's the regularly formed passive of 'me miseret'. -- Ray ================================== ================================== TRADUTTORE TRADITORE