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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." << And:
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: (Predicative) Nominative <------Verb-----> Objective For example: (a bone) The man ------gives-----> the dog "The man bone-gives the dog", i.e., "The man gives a bone to the dog." (Positive direction) (a bone) The dog <----receives---- the man "The dog bone-receives the man", i.e., "The dog receives a bone from the man." (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) (hungry) 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) (a 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 action) 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, > cross-linguistically.
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