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Re: 'Yemls Cases - Comments?

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 19, 2003, 19:59
En réponse à Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>:

> > This is a simplified description of how 'Yemls matches case-roles to > arguments. It's short on examples, partly due to vocabulary shortage. >
Don't worry, I'm an expert on grammatical discussions without examples too, since I just usually don't have any at hand :)) (or :(( here).
> > There are 3 primary cases corresponding to the 3 primary arguments, > representing 3 of the various possible case-roles. These are called > the > A-case, the P-case, and the C-case. There are also 3 basic > argument-to-case correspondence patterns used. >
I imagine A is for "Agent" and P for "Patient", but C?
> Head-marking is used for cases, meaning the head of the clause > determines which argument has which case. The presence of a > "grammatical > voice" prefix on the head word, either {A}, {P}, or {C}, always > selects > one of the basic patterns: > A-case: {A}head P-case C-case > P-case: {P}head C-case A-case > C-case: {C}head P-case A-case
It looks a little like Itakian in imperfective sentences, which are TVC, i.e. Trigger-Verb-Object word order, where the "Object" is a mandatory direct "object" (absent from sentences in the perfective aspect which take VT word order) whose function depends on the function of the trigger and the meaning of the verb. It's a bit more idiosyncratic than your system though.
> When none of these prefixes is present, the pattern depends on the > head > word's class. Words denoting actions generally take the 1st pattern, > while other words generally take the 2nd. Those in the 1st group don't > take the {A} prefix and those in the 2nd group don't take the {P} > prefix. >
Sounds pretty reasonable so far. I have the same with trigger affixes on the verb (the affixes which mark the function of the trigger in the sentence). IIRC, if the trigger is of class 1 or 2 (so-called human classes), the trigger affix for actor is actually the null affix, i.e. no affix at all. It's an idea of action hierarchy which considers that the higher in the hierarchy you are, the more common and normal it is for you to be an actor, and thus you needn't mark what's taken as a default.
> ABSENT ARGUMENTS > > An argument may be absent for lexical reasons (because its case isn't > defined for that particular head word), for syntactical reasons (such > as > the subject in participial and imperative clauses), because it's > implied, or because it's not specified. Some specifics: > The subject is always present except in > * "impersonal" clauses > * participial and imperative clauses (implied) > * when implied in adverbial and infinitive clauses > For typical "nouns" and "adjectives", the C-case will be undefined and > the A-case will normally not be specified. However, for relationship > words (including kinship and body part terms), the C-case will > normally > be required. >
Which raises the question: how do you do when the absent argument would be the 2nd argument, while the 3rd would be present? The 3rd argument could be confused with a 2nd argument, hence a confusion in function of the argument. Or would you use the voice prefixes to ensure that the missing argument is never in 2nd position? OK, not much to comment, as it looked clear to me so far. Of course, if you could explain the usual role of each case, it would help me understand the thing a little better :) . Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.