Split nominative and Nik's new project
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, November 14, 1998, 23:17|
Aijavva! A friend of mine drew my attention to this posting that I had
overlooked... Nik, when did you post this? Which language project of
yours is this?
> Nominative I & II are stolen from Teonaht's split
> nominative. Nom. I indicates non-volitional, Nom. II indicates
Well, imitation, or stealing, <G> is the highest form of compliment.
I think Jerry wanted to take the clitic tense forms (that prefix to
pronouns in Teonaht) and adapt it for NGL, and now this!
> Originally, it was an ergative language, which later became
> an active language as the ergative was extended. There was also a
> partitative case indicating partially affected objects. The partitative
> took over the patient role entirely, becoming accusative, and so the S
> role was split, and eventually the old absolutive (now Nom. I) took a
> few transitive verbs.
Now the trick is to see how your system differs from my system. I was
thrown for a loop just a little when I was asked to consider the
development of such a system from a functionalist perspective (this came
up in the thread a little while back about the "feasibility" of the
split-nominative). Wasn't this giving the listener more information than
was needed? There's a reason why you have to distinguish between A and P,
because these two can coexist in the same clause; but what's the
functional reason for distinguishing between A and S in a
nominative/accusative language? (yours? definitely mine)
What Teonaht does with the "split nominative," and I've come to realize
this now, is that the form of the nominative merely mirrors a distinction
that is made in the verb. There are two basic types of verb--volitional
and non-volitional--either of which can be transitive or intransitive. So
I've dispensed with the "S" symbol ("subject of intransitive verb) and
have substituted "E," "experiencer." Frequently the verb itself can
change its morphology to express the agency or non-agency of its subject:
ouarem "listen," ouaned "hear"
elry oua, "I listened," elry ouan, "I heard."
The "case" markings in the articles/determiners that accompany the nouns
are not exactly redundancies, then, but they do "copy" the agent status of
the verb. I defend their use in the -ndi verbs which can be either
volitional or non-volitional by context:
Le zef delo hejvan (the man absented)
Li zef delo hejvan (the man was absent)
The first sentence tells you that the man was absent by design.
The second that he was just absent.
Otherwise, they might be "superfluous information," and the distinction
can't be detected in the noun if it is not headed by an article ("my man,"
"two men" etc.)
Can this still be considered a "split nominative" (because a verb argument
assumes either an agent or an experiencer), or should it be called
something else? In both instances, they are still considered nominatives;
the pronouns don't reflect the difference except in their emphasized
Li fetil'aiba, dam hoja-le uen.
volwin ly, vul inua aiba bronib.
This leaf, the wind takes her.
She's old, and born this year.