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grammatical cases & semantic roles (was: ergative/accusative)

From:R A Brown <ray@...>
Date:Monday, January 29, 2007, 19:55
MorphemeAddict@WMCONNECT.COM wrote:
> In a message dated 1/28/2007 10:17:14 AM Central Standard Time, > ray@CAROLANDRAY.PLUS.COM writes: > > > >>I agree that Rye is using labels incorrectly. He is IMO confusing >>semantic roles and grammatical relations. But, similarly, the label >>'focus' is surely being used incorrectly by MorphemeAddict. >> >> > > As I said, I was basing my information on Rick Morneau's work.
Sorry - you did indeed say that.
> His treatment of argument structures is not mainstream.
It certainly isn't, is it! Your mail send me to look out the stuff I have about Rick's 'Machine Translation Interlingua'. Yes, he does appear to use 'focus' as the label for a 'case'. I think, however, his use of 'patient' and 'agent' are clear indicators that he is not talking about surface grammatical cases but about 'deep cases' i.e. semantic roles. This makes sense, I think, in discussing an interlingua for (universal) machine translation: we need to get at what a sentence/utterance etc _means_. Even so, I find his use of 'focus' unhelpful in that it already has another linguistic use. Personally, i think it can (and does) cause confusion to use 'case' to denote both surface, grammatical features and semantic roles. Although there is some correspondence between the two, it is very far from being identical. As I said, I agree with you that Rye is using labels wrongly in His error IMO is his apparent 1 to 1 mapping of grammatical case to semantic role, e.g. that the subject of a transitive verb is always the patient - it ain't. BTW - Rick Morneau says "All verbs have a patient, whether stated or implied." Is that in fact true? What is the patient of the following LATIN SPANISH ESPERANTO ENGLISH pluit llueve pluvas it's raining niuit nieva neghas it's snowing Of the languages above, only English gives the verb a grammatical subject - the dummy 'it'. What is the patient implied in those and similar verbs? -- Ray ================================== ================================== Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu. There's none too old to learn. [WELSH PROVERB}