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Re: Non-accusative, non-ergative, non-active

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Sunday, July 13, 2003, 19:08
Quoting John Cowan <cowan@...>:

> mathias scripsit: > > > The door is an device that is an inalienable attribute of the house > > Why inalienable? Barring major (and very recently developed) surgery, > giving someone a new mouth is not possible, but changing the door to a > house is a relatively straightforward operation, unless indeed the > door is a mere opening without a closeable portion.
This is true, but in many (most?) languages with alienable/ inalienable distinctions, there are usually nouns which are for cultural reasons considered inalienable which are notionally alienable (religious items, frequently). Likewise, there are often nouns which are simply assigned one class without any apparent reason. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637