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Replying to Rodlox (Re: Spanish-related question ((q)SVO ?) and obliques)

From:David Peterson <thatbluecat@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 22, 2004, 8:34
Rodlox wrote:

<<out of curiosity...what is an oblique?>>

An example from English:

"I ate a hot dog."

Both "I' and "a hot dog" are core arguments of the verb "ate".
If you passivize it, though...

"A hot dog was eaten (by me)."

...only "a hot dog" is a core argument.   "By me" is now considered
an oblique--that is, it is *not* a core argument of the verb.   In
English, it isn't even necessary (a clue for whether or not something
is an oblique in English).   Obliques work differently in different
languages, but they tend to not be core arguments of the verb, and
tend to be marked differently than other arguments (for example,
core arguments of English verbs tend not to be marked, whereas
the oblique must always be preposed by "by").

Rodlox also wrote:

<<minor question - what are 'GB' and 'WH' ?>>

GB stands for Government and Binding--a syntactic framework I
was taught recently.   This fact isn't worth remembering.   WH, however,
is worth knowing.   A WH-word is a question word.   Why is it called a
WH-word?   Because most all English WH-words have "wh" in them--
and most of them begin with WH:


This was an anglocentric coinage, but it seems to have stuck.   WH-word
is now universally understood to mean "question word" (pretty much).
But it's not just any question word.   So, for example, in your Orinoco
"wot" would be a WH-word, but "que" would *not* be.   A WH-word has to
stand for something--kind of like a pronoun.   So, in Arabic, for example,
you have "maa" meaning "what" and "man" meaning "who", and those are
WH-words.   All yes/no questions, though, begin with the particle "hal"
to your "que").   So, an example:

hal tatakalam al-?/arabiija?
/Q you-speak Arabic/
"Do you speak Arabic?"

"hal" above, like "que", just lets the speaker know that the phrase is
a question.   A WH-word asks about a specific something.   So, in English,
"what" asks about a thing; "who" a person; "when" a time; "where" a place;
"why" a reason; and "how" a method or means.

Hope that makes sense.

"sunly eleSkarez ygralleryf ydZZixelje je ox2mejze."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison


Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>