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Re: Accusative? The saga continues ...

From:Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
Date:Saturday, March 16, 2002, 14:30
Talpas Tim wrpte:
># ># >"Ergative/Absolutive" is defined as where O and S are marked the same, ># >and A differently. ># > ># >"Nominative/Accusative" is defined as where A and S are marked the same, ># >and O is marked differently. ># > ># >That leaves one (basic) combination left... Marking A and O similarly ># >(Transitive), and S differently (Intransitive) ># > ># >From what I've seen so far, your language so far seems to conform more ># >closely ># >to this last type than to either of the first two. ># ># Unless my brain has recently been reprogrammed by Mircosoft, Altaii ># maintains an absolute distinction between A and P (whereas S, as far as I ># can see, can be identified with either without creating any weirdities). ># Basic syntax of a transitive sentence is; ># ># A P (everything else) VERB ># ># whereas intransitive ones are; ># ># S (everything else) VERB ># ># While neither A nor P (nor S) get any case-endings, the syntax makes it ># unambiguous what's what. ># > >But it's still ambiguous with respect to whether A or P is marked >similarly to S (and by marked, I mean syntactically), which is necessary >to determine whether it is Accusative or Ergative
This was the original point, and the reason it cannot be a "transitive/intransitive" language.
>(if in fact that >is necessary... personally, i think it would be more interesting to see it >stay >ambiguous).
The point is not whether I keep it ambiguous, but if it remains ambiguous as I expand the language.
> >Syntactic marking is relative, it depends on it's position in the phrase. >So unlike morphological marking where we can take a single word out of the >phrase and say "This is the Patient", with syntactic marking we have to >look >at what comes before and after it. So with your language, you would have to >make sure there is a noun before it (Agent) and a verb after it before such >a >confident determination as "This is the Patient" can be made. Thus, >the assignment of semantic roles depends on the pattern of the phrase. >And as you pointed out above, the two patterns are Intransitive, and >Transitive.
The same is largely true of English, an yet everybody agrees that English is accusative. While English allows adverbials to stand pretty much anywhere in the sentence, and uses some transformations of the basic syntax to express questions etc, it also has two basic syntactic structures: A VERB P and S VERB Andreas _________________________________________________________________ Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: