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Re: inalienable possession

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Friday, November 20, 1998, 16:21
On Wed, 18 Nov 1998, Nik Taylor wrote:

> There are lots of possibilities that simply > don't exist, Sally's split-nominative is a good example. AFAIK, no > language has that, and yet it's quite a simple, and, in retrospect, > obvious distinction. Center-embedding I can think of, but no language > uses that, not regularly, at any rate. I don't think that any languages > mix pre- and postpositions, except for a few formulaic forms (like > English "thereof", or Latin "mecum").
Teonaht does; that's because I modeled this tendency on English and Latin, which retain something of their original SOV postpositional structures. I'm about a hundred posts behind, here, so I don't know yet what anyone else has said, but I imagine that if IE languages were originally SOV and used postpositions, that the switch to SVO and prepositions would turn up a number of archaisms in a number of languages. Teonaht allows you to say "bread and butter" or "bread butter and," depending on context and *seemliness* of sound, a big deal in this language's prosody. It also allows you to put the adposition "between" in between the two items it separates: "the kite was stuck between the tree and the house": il eton iksyl hovik-jo the kite the (P) tree between-the house-and it was stuck. Although this is admittedly cute. Doesn't work so well for numbers or simple plurals, and is used, mostly for effect. More commonly: iksyl eton hovik-jo between the tree house-and
> > remember that in some languages, prepositions are conjugated like verbs. > > The Celtic langs do that with persons, tho the verbs don't. For > example, in Irish: dom = to me, duit = to you, etc.
Exactly. In Welsh prepositions are conjugated according to person: gennyf i, ganndo ef, with me, with you, etc. A remarkable feature that I don't think is peculiar only to the Celts. Just to reverse the terms of this discussion (about postpositions becoming case endings)... if the verb was final, wouldn't this account for the number of verbs in Germanic that begin with prepositions? I'm thinking of that old standby Harold him with feaht Harold fought with him that is always invoked as an example of SOV and postposition in OE. Wouldn't this have given rise to the preposition/verb combination? withstand, undergo, etc. etc. I look at this sentence and wonder if the proper division is not "with fought" rather than "him with." Sally ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sally Caves Li fetil'aiba, dam hoja-le uen. volwin ly, vul inua aiba bronib. This leaf, the wind takes her. She's old, and born this year. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++