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Re: Glyphica Arcana Distinctions (cases?)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 27, 2005, 17:49

Jefferson Wilson wrote:

> [...] > > Anyway, based on some earlier comments I've been considering > revising the subject/object distinction. I'd like to know what > the difference is between subject/object and agent/patient.
"Subject" and "object" are syntactic notions which do not apply well to some languages. In the examples: (1) The child threw the ball. (2) The child sang. (3) The ball fell. the subjects are "the child", "the child" and "the ball", respectively. "Agent" and "patient" are *semantic* roles. An agent is an entity which performs an action, a patient is one which undergoes an event. In (1) and (2), "the child" is the agent. In (3), there is *no* agent - "the ball" is subject but not agent. In (1) and (3), "the ball" is the patient; (2) does not involve a patient.
> What > other distinctions like this can people tell me about? One thing > I'm considering in particular is a distinction between volitional > (people) and non-volitional (rocks) subjects, though I'm not > exactly sure where to draw the line between the two.
You may want to look at the degrees of volition in my conlang Old Albic, a language which distinguishes between agent and patient rather than subject and object. I posted the grammar last year here, it can be easily accessed via the page Look for "Case" under "Nominal Morphology" and for "Degrees of volition" under "Syntax". (Since then, I have changed some minor details, but these changes only concern the phonetic shape of some morphemes; the structure of the language has remained the same.) Greetings, Jörg.