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Re: Ergativity Question

From:Doug Dee <amateurlinguist@...>
Date:Wednesday, August 18, 2004, 23:30
In a message dated 8/17/2004 11:10:56 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
butsuri@MYREALBOX.COM writes:

>Errr... You're the linguist here, but that's not what I understand by >the term "labile verb". I've always understood it as referring >exclusively to those verbs which may be used transitively or >intransitively such that the intransitive subject refers to the same >role as the transitive object; e.g. "I broke the bottle"/"The bottle >broke". _Describing Morphosyntax_ appears to agree with me (it calls >them "middle verbs" for obvious reasons). Clearly "eat" is not such a >verb.
>Are you sure there's an established usage of "labile verb" to cover >_all_ verbs that can be transitive or intransitive? Maybe someone >could look it up in Trask?
RMW Dixon (in _Ergativity_) uses "labile" or "ambitransitive" for both types of verb: the "S=O" ambitransitives like "break", and the "S=A" ambitransitives like "eat." Doug