Re: Need Advice on Syntax & Case System
|From:||Christian Thalmann <cinga@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, April 27, 2002, 9:43|
--- In conlang@y..., JS Bangs <jaspax@U...> wrote:
> > - Do you find the description of the cases and their uses
> > comprehensible and/or intuitive?
> Uh, no. You spend a while describing the various syntactic variants of
> cases, but I couldn't find any explanation of what the difference between
> Predicative and Objective was.
The syntactic variants are mentioned on the Syntax page. Did you check
out the Nouns page? It says:
>>The predicative case is used for objects that describe or complement
the verb. Obrenje grammaticians often view the verb and the
predicative object as a single functional unit."
>>The objective case is used for objects that describe the direction
or goal of the verb. Both positive and negative directions (e.g.
giving and receiving) are aimed with this case."
Granted, these explanations are pretty short, but I assumed the
examples would make things clearer. Apparently, I was wrong. Let
me try again...
The objective case marks objects upon which the verb acts, while the
predicative marks objects that are an integral part of the verb action.
If you were to represent an Obrenje sentence in a pseudo-scientific
way, you'd get this:
Nominative <------Verb-----> Objective
The man ------gives-----> the dog
"The man bone-gives the dog", i.e., "The man gives a bone to the dog."
The dog <----receives---- the man
"The dog bone-receives the man", i.e., "The dog receives a bone from
(Negative direction, the negative sign of the vector is given by the
verb, not by any change in the case structure)
The dog -------sees-----> the man
"The dog sees the man."
(Positive direction, no predicate)
The dog --------is-------
"The dog hungry-is", i.e., "The dog is hungry."
(No objective object, so no direction of the action)
An object can take different cases with the same verb, depending on
its status in the action:
The man ------reads-----> a book
"The man reads a book."
(Action aimed at the book)
The man ------reads-----> his son
"The man book-reads his son", i.e., "The man reads a book to his son."
(Action aimed at the son, the book being an integral part of the
Does that help? I should include that into my webpage.
> Most of your examples are what would be
> Indirect Object and Direct Object in English, or Accusative/Dative in
> Greek or Latin. Was that your intent?
First and foremost, to depart from the classical IE-influenced model.
As for the comparison with the Acc/Dat system, the page says:
>>The objective case would be translated as accusative in "The dog (N)
sees you (O)", but as a dative in "I (N) give a fruit (P) to the
animal (O)". Similarly, the predicative case corresponds to the
classical accusative in "The man (N) sings a song (P)" as well as
the nominative in "The water (N) is cold (P)"."
> Torav, lonna u lawne i fele.
> Man:d sing:3i PRE song:i OBJ woman:d
> Lit.: "The man. Sings-he a song to the woman."
> The man, he sings a song to the woman.
> Note that in this case, |torav| is the topic declaration, which should be
> considered as a statement of its own, and not part of the sentence |Lonna
> u lawne i fele.|"
> This is a very natural feature, but your description of it is very odd.
> Why should we consider "torav" to be part of a different sentence? It's
> much simply and linguistically more accurate to say that there is a
> pre-verbal focus, and that any element receiving particular emphasis can
> be moved to that position. Such is a very common thing,
The point is that "Lonna u lawne i fele" already is a complete
sentence on its own, since the implicit-subject verb form "lonna"
contains the subject. A noun phrase placed before the verb is
parsed as an object (PVSO syntax), so we need the comma to set it off
from the rest of the sentence a bit.
I'm not familiar with the expression "pre-verbal focus", but it sounds
very appropriate here.
Thanx for the feedback, it was very helpful indeed. Please tell me
whether my additional explanations made it clearer. It makes sense in
my head, so there should be a way to explain it. Then again, maybe it
only makes sense to me because I'm not a linguist, and fail to see the
larger picture. =P
-- Christian Thalmann