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THEORY: applicatives

From:Thomas Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Monday, October 31, 2005, 4:17
> Is this like the English: > > Peter gave Paula a book. -> Peter presented Paula with > a book.
Not really. Applicative constructions are valence-increasing devices that are generally multimorphemic. The German example that Joerg gave is slightly unhelpful, since "be-" also just has plain causative functions which, of course, are also valency increasing. Here's a better example from Meskwaki: aSike:wa 'He is building a house' (animate intransitive) aSikawe:wa 'He is building her a house' (transitive animate) meSena:wa 'He is catching it' (transitive inanimate) meSenamawe:wa 'He is catching it for her' (transitive animate) where the applicative suffix -aw- follows the incorporated noun stem formant -ik 'house' (cognate with the word borrowed from another Algonquian language 'wigwam'). Note that one can directly tell what has been promoted to object, because Algonquian stems subcategorize for the animacy of absolutive argument of the verb (either subject of intransitive or object of transitive). Anyways, 'present' in English just happens to have the same (or similar) argument structure that the German word 'beschenken' does, but there is nothing about it that's particularly applicative. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637


Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>