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

From:Eldin Raigmore <eldin_raigmore@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 19:18
---In, R A Brown <ray@...> wrote:
>Eldin Raigmore wrote: >[snip] >>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.
I believe the answer is "Yes". Thanks.
>In all the above the verbs have no grammatical subject, i.e. they >are impersonal.
What I was specifically talking about are basic clauses that _do_ have a grammatical subject, but not necessarily a nominative one; or _do_ have a grammatical (direct?) object, but not necessarily an accusative one. When such clauses are passivized, the quirky-cased (non-nominative) subject (if that's what's quirky) doesn't change case when it gets demoted, and the quirky-cased (non-accusative) object (if that's what's quirky), if it gets promoted, doesn't change case. In the latter event, when a clause with a quirky object is passivized, in some languages the quirky object does not get promoted to subject, so that the passive clause is 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.
Makes it sound like the case, for these verbs, is assigned on the basis of semantic role, rather than grammatical relation. So, yes, these are examples, I think.
>The English direct object is expressed by a genitive in Latin, >showing the _origin of the weariness etc.
Why wasn't it ablative instead of genitive, I wonder?
>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'.
Thanks for these, too, Ray.


R A Brown <ray@...>