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Monster Raving Loony (was: Re: Ergativity)

From:Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...>
Date:Sunday, August 22, 2004, 18:51
Digging in my archive ...

On Wed 25 February 2004 10:36, Andreas Johansson wrote:

 > Quoting "Mark J. Reed" <markjreed@MAIL.COM <mailto:markjreed@...>>:
 > [...]
 > > Construct Categories
 > >         Name                    Groupings
 > > [...]
 > >         Monster Raving Loony    {A,  P} {S}
 > > [...]
 > It should also be possible to have a hierarchical system
 > which is morphologically and syntactically MRL. Given the
 > usual result of me expressing a wish that some feature or
 > pattern is absent from natlangs, I'm not going to say I
 > do hope no natlang is constructed thusly.

Now I don't understand anything anymore. How can MRL
languages work at all? The agent cannot be the patient at
the same time! And why is the subject separate?
In IE langs, the agent and the subject (the focus AIUI) are
the same, in ergative languages, the focus is on the
patient (also AIUI). Trigger languages can choose whether
the focus is on the agent or the patient or something else.
As Takatunu wrote back in February, ergative language would
say THE EGG is laid by the hen, while accusative languages
would say THE HEN lays the egg (now I think I understand
what "antipassive" means). As for volitionality of actions,
I must rethink some things in Ayeri a bit. Hehe, maybe soem
daughter languages might develop into nom/acc and other
into abs/erg languages *evil* -- once I'm at the point I am
willing to do derivational work. But how in the world can
one argument be the agent and the patient of an action at
the same time? That makes absolutely no sense for me. This
seems to go for you others, too. Otherwise, such languages
wouldn't be known as MRL languages here.


Eri silveváng aibannama padangin.
Nivaie evaenain eri ming silvoieváng caparei.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince


Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>