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Re: Subject / Object / ?

From:Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 17:32
On Monday, September 13, 2004, at 09:24 , Christian Thalmann wrote:

> --- In, John Cowan <cowan@C...> wrote: > >> Remember that you are talking to a francophone, for whom this > procedure is >> essentially impossible due to the wide separation of spoken French > and written >> French, which Christophe has himself characterized as "two separate > languages" >> on many occasions. > > But in spoken French, from what I've heard, the subject > vs object distinction is even marked with a case suffix! > Observe: /lOm/ "the man (ACC)", /lOmi/ "the man (NOM)", > as in /lOmi vwa lotROm/ "the man sees the other man". ;-)
No, no - this is faulty analysis. In the interrogative form we have /lOmvwatilotRom/. The -i- has attached itself to the allomorph -vwat-. What we have here is the development in colloquial French of a mandatory _verbal_ subject complement; such verbal complements are, of course, compulsory in non-interrogative sentences if there is no noun subject. In the Rheto-Romance branch, such verbal complements are compulsory in all environments; colloquial French seems to be going the same way. {sigh} Why do people keep trying to pretend that French nouns have case forms? I recall seeing once in a book: NOM. le garçon GEN. du garçon DAT. au garçon ACC. le garçon (I kid you not!) BTW - just to return to the subject line :) If we had got subject & object confused at school, the headmaster had a simple technique for bringing home the point. If, for example, the guy sitting next to me was "Smith" (only surnames were used in those days), he would simply say: "Brown, hit Smith round the head!" "Smith, hit Brown round the head!" His theory was that even the most obtuse boy could spot the difference: the hitter is the subject & the head being hit is the object ;) Of course, such simple lessons have now long been banned in UK schools! Ray =============================================== =============================================== "They are evidently confusing science with technology." UMBERTO ECO September, 2004