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Switch Systems and Relative Animacy

From:Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 19, 2005, 13:23
There are some languages which mark on the verb whether the subject is
higher in animacy than the object, or vice versa. And there are some
that mark whether the subject of a clause is the same as the preceding
clause (similar to 4th person marking). I was thinking of combining the
two and having this as a 3 way system for disambiguating:

the verb can take 3 markers. They are:

same subject as last clause
different subject from last clause, subj higher in animacy than object
different subject from last clause, subj lower in animacy than object

I've eliminated the animacy distinction when the subject is the same as
the last clause, because in such a case distinguishing between S and O
is less of a problem. What do you think? It seems to me to be concise
and good for the purposes of disambiguation. icon_smile.gif

BTW, the animacy tree that languages typically use is:

1st > 2nd > 3rd > proper nouns > people > animals > plants > inanimate

Sometimes, languages consider male people to be higher in animacy than
females also, although I'm not sure if this is a universal or not.


James W <emindahken@...>