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Tagalog - response to takatunu (was Re: Help: Ergative VOS Conjunctions)

From:JR <fuscian@...>
Date:Monday, December 22, 2003, 6:49
Sorry for the delay, again.

on 12/10/03 1:35 AM, takatunu at takatunu@FREE.FR wrote:

>> For instance, >> all three verbs below would normally be said to have agent marking, >> but only in the first is the "ang" phrase clearly an agent. In the second, > it's a >> patient, and in the third it can be interpreted as either. >> > > None of them are an "agent" but all of them are "actors". > Your final "purposely or not" shows that you may confused role and volition. > Volition is part of the definition of roles in active languages but if you
The definition of particular thematic/semantic roles is universal, not language-specific, or [language-type]-specific. Volition is considered to be a contributing factor to agent-hood (see ticRole.htm). That said, particular languages may group these roles slightly differently (e.g., conflating or separating things like "theme" and "experiencer"). Palmer calls the latter, in contrast, "grammatical roles." The traditional analysis is that the marking on the Tagalog verb corresponds to the theta-role of the argument. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "actor" in contrast to "agent," because I've always seen the two used interchangeably for Tagalog. You seem to be using 'actor' in a very general way, so that it can refer to any subject. Is that what you mean? If so what's the point of using it? The marking on the verb corresponds to something - it is not random - so what does it correspond to?
> make it the axis of the system, then no wonder you turn any language into an > active or an ergative one.
Hemm? You lost me there. How can I do that?
>Remember that English also has an ablative and an > instrumental cases: > > Nominative: the rose > Accusative: the rose > Genitive: (of) the rose > Dative: (to) the rose > Ablative: (from) the rose > Instrumental: (with) the rose > >> B-um-alik si ama. >> Intr-returned PN.Abs father >> Father returned. >> > Father is "subject" in French lingobooks, "experiencer" for some people on > CONLANG, "patient" for R. Morneau ;-) > Volition is usually implied but not always if Father was forced to get back > there.
You're right, that's not a clear example at all. A better example of an agent would be "Nagtuturo ako" = 'I teach.'
>> Na-laglag ang libro. >> Intr-fell Abs book >> The book fell. > Same as above but as you are an active language speaker you would expect it > to be non-volitional.
It is non-volitional no matter what language you speak, and what else would anyone expect? The point is, it is not an agent in any sense, and it is clearly a patient. If you call it an actor, it seems like you're losing any connection to semantic roles, and thus to the role-marking-on-the-verb theory that I've been arguing against. I'm having sudden doubts about the marker na- and whether it is really to be associated with um/mag/etc. (I'm not an expert on Tagalog morphology or anything). Here's a different example though: B-um-agsak siya sa putik. Intr-fell Abs.3s Dat mud-puddle ŒHe fell in the mud puddle.¹ 'He' is clearly a patient/experiencer/theme and not an agent/actor.
>> Um-ubo ang lalaki. >> Intr-coughed Abs man >> The man coughed (purposely or not). > Same.
Huh? The point is that to a Tagalog speaker, the um- is not clearly associated with any theta-role. True, this could be an example of Palmer's grammatical roles; nouns with the theta-role present here could necessarily be grouped with agents, and the language could still be said to have direct grammatical-role marking. But the other example(s) show(s) that there is actually not a relation to even grammatical roles - it's not merely marginal/ambiguous roles like the performer of a cough that are grouped with the "agent" class, but obvious patients (such as something that falls). It's not semantic or grammatical roles that are being marked, but grammatical relations (Erg, Abs). -- Josh Roth "Farewell, farewell to my beloved language, Once English, now a vile orangutanguage." -Ogden Nash Sent using the Entourage X Test Drive.