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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 > volitional.
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." etc. 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 forms. Sally ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Sally Caves 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. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++