Focus in W (was Re: Greenberg's Word Order Universals)
|Date:||Sunday, September 17, 2000, 2:18|
> W would require a cleft for that, something like:
> Faklátassi nús Ján fakassáttas wifkál
> Was John read book
> It was John who read the book
Incidentally, there's an error, "read" has to agree with the
*absolutive* argument (wifkál), not the ergative (nús Ján), thus it
should've taken the suffix -*a, not -tas, making it fakassátta
I've been thinking about this, and I've decided that the form tatti is
used to mark a focused noun. This is derived from the verb form
tátassi, an inflected form of tá, which was a variant of klá.
Specifically, tátassi is 3rd person singular sentient non-punctual
(i.e., (s)he is), but was generalized for all nouns, regardless of
number or sentience or person. Thus:
Tatti nús Ján fakassátta wifkál
Focus John read book
John read the book; It's John who read the book
Tatti wifkál fakassátta núsal Jánal
Focus book read John-erg
The book John read; The book is what John read.
It remains to be determined exactly what its usage is.
All particles must be mono- or disyllabic, and cannot bear stress, which
is why tátassi became tatti.
Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos
God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb
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