Re: GROUPLANG: Pronouns
|From:||Mathias M. Lassailly <lassailly@...>|
|Date:||Monday, October 19, 1998, 18:18|
Charles wrote :
On Mon, 19 Oct 1998, Nik Taylor wrote:
> > Well, I was going to suggest a triple system like that, but I don't
> > really like it very much. I see no reason to have a seperate
> > intransitive case, since it never needs to disambiguated from transitive
> > cases.
There is a deeper issue than (in)transitivity here. Euro-linguists like to define an
ergative language as a language where 'subject of intransitive verb has the
same tag as object of transitive verb'. Can you feel the nonsense that is ?
From the ergative viewpoint there is no 'intransitive subject' nor 'transitive
object' whatever the change occurs when adding an ergative (like position of
absolutive verbal affixed pronoun in Sumerian).
So of course there is no such need you mention if you leave away MEANING in a
sentence : then you can regard noun-rooted predicates as equivalent to
But not so if you really want to allow either populations of us to use either root
and still get perfectly understoiod from the other population.
I mean : Carlos and I and many others will almost always find a way to derive a
noun into a predicate to express things in images like English does. This
implies that we find in nouns a specific meaning making them part of a process,
as English does with 'hand', 'ship', 'man', 'branch', etc. To do so we need two
specific 'cases' (i.e. verbal voices in a nom/acc language), namely :
1. agentive - 'to work as, to have the role of' a hammer, a mill, a chief, a home, etc. - and
2. attributive ('to have an absolute feature' = to have a head, a home, a
country, a brother, strength, (to produce) smoke, etc.'.
Luckily, the 4 other cases we need can be also used with verb-rooted predicates - namely :
1. ergative : 'to apply' a colour, a hammer, etc.;
2. absolutive : 'to benefit or experience' = to benefit of gift, clothes; to
perceive a smell, an image; to experience a position; to use one's organs eye,
3. Patientive : 'to suffer an agent or its result' = to suffer a wound, an injury, a hammer, etc.;
4. Causative : 'to make' = to make it a flower, to have someone go, etc.
Computers will may never be able to analyse a noun as the potential agent of a process
unless you tag on that noun both aspective (verb) and unaspective (noun)
This is because computers will never experience in their life that a cow is at the
same time an agent to bread, to eat, to watch trains, etc. But we human do.
So please grant Carlos and me and other human conlangers the delight of deriving
predicates from nouns AND being understood by our fellow human conlangers
WITHOUT the confusion English raises with verbs like 'to man a ship'. Please
allow us the pleasure of conjuring up our human experience from nouns of
instrument (loom), result (fruit) and relative (brother) using agentive and
Actually, we all-noun promoters could claim for more than 10 cases we need to fully
express ourselves in this language ;-) But we don't. We know you don't need
more than 2 cases (nom/acc) + a few verbal affixes (factitive, passive, etc).
Yes we need more cases. But we don't need factitive and passive either. So
you'll see this system doesn't require more tags than an all-verb rooting
predicate's one. The same number of tags is required. The difference is that
noun-rooting predicate needs more cases, while verb-rooting predicate needs
more verbal forms. So 6 cases is OK, don't you think so ?
Anyways, the case system as proposed seems too "computer-like",
> > so to speak.
> There is a natlang distinction between and "active" and "passive"
> intransitive, though it is somewhat rare. When the moon rises,
> is it raised or does it rise? (I hope that is a good example,
> but I can't remember a cited one.)
> I think computers will have enough trouble with this lang, BTW.
See the original message at http://www.egroups.com/list/conlang/?start=17571
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