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'Yemls Cases - Comments?

From:Jeff Jones <jeffsjones@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 19, 2003, 11:21
Hi all:
I hope to get comments on this, non-expert as well as expert. I'm trying
to make my documentation less incoherent, but haven't been successful.
Of course, part of the problem is that a number of decisions have to be
made about the language, but I haven't been able to think very clearly
due to illness. I expect any help will make me feel better.

This is a simplified description of how 'Yemls matches case-roles to
arguments. It's short on examples, partly due to vocabulary shortage.


In general, a content word can have up to 3 primary arguments.
The following basic clause structure is used:
    1st_arg:  head  2nd_arg  3rd_arg
I've been calling 1st_arg the "subject" and the other primary arguments
"objects". Of course, in most situations, not all 3 arguments are
present, but I'm ignoring that for now.

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.

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
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}


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.


There may be some words for which one argument takes 2 cases when
unmarked (i.e. normally reflexive), such as:
    AP-cases:  head  C-case
The {A} and {P} prefixes might each be used to dereflexivize these.

Jeff Jones {Jfl}


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>