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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, 20:12
Eldin Raigmore wrote:
> 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.
I do not see how this is possible if we are talking in purely _grammatical_ terms, i.e. we are not dealing with semantic roles. what I mean is that the nominative case is defined as "in a morpholologically *accusative*, the case used for both subjects of intransitive verbs and subjects of transitive verbs" [Trask]. That is, the nominative case is defined by being the grammatical subject. Similarly the accusative case (in nominative-accusative languages) is the case that marks the direct objects. What we can have, of course, is the situation where what is the grammatical subject in one language is not the grammatical subject in another, as in the example of the Latin impersonal verbs I gave where the English subject is expressed by the accusative case. But in Latin, that accusative ain't the subject. [snip]
>>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?
Good question - I fear Greek interrupted my thought processes here. The genitive in Greek does often express _origin_, having merged the PIE ablative & genitive case. But that is not so in Latin, where the Latin ablative is a merger of earlier ablative, instrumental & locative cases. I've gone to the reference books to straighten myself up. As well as possession and partitive functions, the Latin genitive could also denote the 'sphere of reference'. This seems to be genitive used with these verbs. Cf. this apposite example: me stultitiae meae pudet = it shames me with reference to my foolishness (i.e. I am ashamed of my foolishness) [snip]
> Thanks for these, too, Ray.
You're welcome. -- Ray ================================== ================================== TRADUTTORE TRADITORE