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Active languages, part 2

From:Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...>
Date:Sunday, August 7, 2005, 13:13
Hi all,

I've got again several questions on active languages. Thanks
for all the answers in part 1, but I haven't been able to
read them all yet because I have just returned yesterday

* In Daniel Andréasson's thesis _Active Languages_, which I
read during my week off, I had a problem understanding what
head-marking exactly means. He writes (p. 15f.):

| In a phrase like "John's book", "John" is the possessor/
| dependent and "book" -- what the phrase is about -- is the
| possessed NP/head. In English, "John" is the constituent
| that is marked and "John's book" is thus an example of
| dependent-marking. If "book" had been marked instead, it
| would have illustrated head-marking. [...]
| The active language type strongly prefers head-marking
| morphology. This does of course not say that it is
| impossible for a dependent-marking language to have active
| alignment, just that it is more rare (Nichols 192:101). [...]
| Languages with active alignment prefer head-marking since
| they grammaticalize lexical categories of verbs. Hoever,
| dependent-marking active languages are generally fluid-S,
| as we saw, which means that they rather grammaticalize
| nominal semantic roles and not verb categorization.

* According to Andréasson, active languages rather tend to
mark the possessee instead of the possessor, or did I get
that wrong? This would be called Construct Case then,
wouldn't it?

* Another point is that I decided to make Tarśanian split-S,
I just have not decided yet whether the split should be
based on control, Performance/Effect/Instigation (he calls
it P/E/I for short) or event. I might ask about this again,
because I have not yet completely understood that. I must
read again the examples he gave. However, I saw in some
examples he gave (IIRC) and also in Jörg Rhiemeier's
examples of Old Albic that case usually seems to be marked
on the verb instead of the NP. Is that also a common
feature? I remember Basque to act similarly, though Basque
is of course an ergative language, I know that. Or are that
just peculiarities and I can go on marking case on NPs? Or
do verbs just agree with nouns in case?

* Another feature of active languages seems that adjectives
are handled like stative verbs. Or is that just the case in
languages with the split being based on event/state?

* What if the verb only needs to agree in case with the
topic-NP? Wouldn't that be similar to triggering? If yes,
this is *not* what I want to do.

* Any ideas what verbs could inflect for besides person and
mode? I have 3 different verb endings due to sound changes
but I don't know what to do with them. Anyway, how came
inflection for person into life?

Thanks for answering,

Edatamanon le matahanarà benenoea eibenem ena Bahis
Tingraena, 15-A8-58-6-5-16-A ena Curan Tertanyan.


Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Patrick Littell <puchitao@...>