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A mixed ergative question, Minyeva

From:Garrett Jones <alkaline@...>
Date:Monday, April 15, 2002, 7:16
> Your system is quite nice. I think your NOM, ACC and DAT actors > are very much > like Rick Morneau's Agent, Patient and Focus actors:
Hey cool, someone else actually read that thing! It was long but quite interesting. I find it pretty neat that you actually noticed its influence on the structure of minyeva without me mentioning it. If you're curious, the original word order for Minyeva was going to be: (agent - action) - (patient - resulting state) but i just recently decided to put the action & state closer to each other because they are, in general, intimately related. I really liked some of the concepts he mentioned, but i felt that i wanted a system that worked a little differently than his, thus Minyeva. Do you know of anyone else who uses the term "Focus" like RM does? And what would i call a case that corresponds to his focus? I just pulled 'dative' out of my ass at the last minute.
> (He:NOM - kicked) (became wounded - him:ACC) = he kicked him, > injuring him. > = He-AGENT kicks [and/in order to] wounded he-PATIENT > > (He:NOM) (died - him:ACC) = he killed him. > = He-AGENT [acts and] dies he-PATIENT > > (knows - he:NOM - french:DAT) = he knows french. > = Knows he-PATIENT [with/about] french-FOCUS > > As you point it, your examples show that like RM's Patient your > own ACC actor > may be the subject of a passive state ("to die"), dynamic state > ("to learn"), > dynamic uncontrolled state ("to sneeze"), etc., and like Rick > Morneau does too > you seem to consider your ACC actor (RM's Patient) as the default actor of > verbs.
Actually in Minyeva, the subject of a passive state, when it appears in an intransitive verb, is nominative. Basically the first thing "mentioned" in a string of causation is in the nominative case, whether it's the thematic agent, instrument, or patient; the following entities are in the accusative case. However, the word order in minyeva puts RM's patient on the right side of the verb and his agent on the left side of the verb.
> I am not going to suggest you anything--and i'm sure you already > thought about > all this anyway--but still i was thinking that a language based > on Causation > should tell Causation from Goal. Maybe this could be achieved by tagging > factitive/lassive Agent (FNOM) differently from the plain transitive Agent > (TNOM). In other words, your NOM subject would be either > factitive or plain > transitive, just because that disctinction is tightly linked to > the distinction > between Causation and Goal. Let me develop:
My plan is to have a linking-word system, where you put a linking word between the agent's action and patient's state verbs. It would give details on how the two events/states/actions are related.
> (i) Sometime the action of the Agent is not specified: > "AGENT [acts somehow and] PATIENT dies" > This is called a prospective aspect because you qualify the verb > according to > the resultive state of the patient, not the causative action of > the agent: the > verb is Factitive.
in Minyeva, the agent's action simply wouldn't be specified.
> (ii) Sometime the result of the Agent's action is not specified: > "AGENT kicks PATIENT [but who knows what entails?]" > That is called a retrospective aspect because you qualify the > verb according to > the causative action of the agent, not the state of the patient. > The verb is a > plain Transitive (my fave french semanticians call this one > "Exotropic" because > it "turns outside" the subject "towards" the object--but there are also > "Endotropic" and "Atropic" ones as i have been rabitting it on > for a while now > just in case this would subliminally get across some conlanging > souls... :-))
in Minyeva, the patient's state simply wouldn't be specified.
> (iii) Both Factitive/Lassive and Transitive verbs can be Transitive or > Ditransitive--which is also why i think the current "transitive vs. > intransitive" label is shabby--: > "The master teaches sciences to the student.": This is a > Ditransitive Transitive > with result unknown: does the student actually learn sciences or > rather indulge > in conlanging during classes?
(master [acts]) with.possible.result.of (learns - student) -the [with.possible.result.of] word would be a linker word, connecting the action of the master and the possible result of a change in state in the student.
> (iv) "The master makes/has/lets the student learn sciences.": That is a > Ditransitive Factitive/Lassive focusing on the student's dynamic > state--although > everything depends on the student's will...:-)
(master [acts]) with.result.of (learns - student) -the master doesn't have direct control over the learning of the student, but he makes it happen. When the prospective aspect is used with the patient in the state of learning, the translation would be the agent is teaching: (master [acts]) (learns - student) = the master teaches the student.
> (v) So certainly i lost you there ;-) but my purpose was to show > that your lang > could maybe tag Causation and Goal differently. Although i guess > you can express > the difference with REALIS ("...resulting in...") and IRREALIS ("...aiming > at...") tags as well.
i just learned about realis and irrealis recently in a linguistics class... i may use the distinction in some other aspect of minyeva ;) sometime i'm going to check out your webpage to see what interesting ideas your language uses, and maybe steal them if i like them :)


Garrett Jones <alkaline@...>idea: environment pronoun