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Re: Mir ist kalt -- How to analyze this sentence?

From:Paul Roser <pkroser@...>
Date:Thursday, June 21, 2007, 20:09
On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 22:27:34 +0100, Jeff Rollin <jeff.rollin@...> wrote:

>In the last episode, (On Wednesday 04 Tamuz 5767 16:29:57), Paul Roser wrote: >> On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 10:39:54 +0200, Andreas Johansson <andjo@...> wrote: >> >Quoting Carsten Becker <carbeck@...>: >> >> Hi, >> >> >> >> The topic already says it all. How do I analyze the sentence >> >> "Mir ist kalt"? That's German for "I feel cold", and breaks >> >> down into 1sg.DAT is cold. But what is the subject in this >> >> sentence? "Kalt", despite it's an adjective? >> > >> >Some grammars will tell you that _mir_ is a "dative subject" here. I don't >> > like this analysis, among other reasons because there is no obvious >> > reason verbal agreement should change just because a subject is put in an >> > odd case form - one'd expect **_Mir bin kalt_. >> >> The so-called dative-subject is actually fairly widespread, occuring in not >> only German, Icelandic and Russian, but also Marathi, Hindi/Urdu and IIRC >> some Northeast Caucasian languages as well, one of it's most common uses >> being to mark a non-volitional experiencer. >> >> One of the articles I found proposed the theory that it was a feature of >> Indo-European (or perhaps Proto-IE) that finite (ie realis) verbs had a >> nominative subject and non-finite (irrealis) verbs had a dative subject. >> However, since I don't know that much about (P)IE, I can't comment on >> whether that's feasible or not. >> >> -Pfal > >(non-)finite = (ir-)realis? Is that your usage? It would seem to be odd to >conflate the usual meaning of "(not) expressing tense or aspect" with that >of "expressing reality or non-reality of action". > >Jeff.
If memory serves, the article was talking about non-finite verbs in the context of modals, and equated them in some fashion with irrealis (not unreasonable for most modal usages of verbs). I merely extended the comparison.