Georgian (was Re: all possible cases ;-)
|From:||Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg.rhiemeier@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, October 18, 2001, 20:07|
daniel andreasson <danielandreasson@...> writes:
> Jörg Rhiemeier wrote:
> > [no "case construction kit" in Georgian]
> Oh. You're right. I don't know how I mixed that up. Georgian
> uses a system of postpositions which in turn govern case (dative,
> genitive, instrumental and adverbial). Much like IE languages. I
> wonder if there has been any influence from e.g. Russian.
Some linguists assume a distant genealogical relation to IE (as well as
Uralic, Altaic, Afro-Asiatic and several others), but the majority of
linguists are sceptical of this "Nostratic" hypothesis.
The grammar of Classical Georgian, however, might have been thoroughly
influenced by Greek. I have read in a book once that the "screeves"
(tense/aspect/mood forms) of Classical Georgian correspond almost 1:1
with Greek forms not in form, but in meaning (e.g., there is an aorist
that is used just like the Greek aorist). As so often in the Christian
world, the literary standard of the language was set by the Bible
translation; possibly, the Georgian monks (or whoever) who translated
the Bible from Greek consistently mapped Greek constructions onto
Georgian constructions of similar meaning in order to achieve as precise
a rendering of the original text as possible. And because the Bible set
the standard for the language, the Classical Georgian grammar closely
parallels that of Greek.
I don't know, however, how far these parallels really go. Certainly,
this did not expand to case alignment, for example. It also required a
fair degree of comparability of grammar forms between Georgian and Greek
to start with. But anyway, it makes for a good entry in John Cowan's
essentialist explanation list:
Classical Georgian is essentially a bad literal translation of New
Testament Greek into Kartvelian.
> The cases are nominative, narrative, dative, genitive, instrumental,
> adverbial and vocative. The nominative is more like nominative/
> absolutive, the narrative is more like ergative and the dative
> often behaves like the accusative. Oh well. That's what you get
> in a split-ergative / active language.
Yes, it is an interesting split system. The "screeves" of the Georgian
verb fall into three series, usually called the "present", "aorist" and
"perfect" series. The difference is mainly aspectual: the "present"
series contains imperfective, the other two perfective forms. In the
"present" series, the alignment is nominative/accusative, using the
dative for accusative; in the "aorist" series, it seems to be active
(according to what I have seen), marking agents with narrative
(ergative) and patients with nominative; the "perfect" series is
similar, but uses the dative as agent case.
Experiencer-subjects (as in sentences such as "I hear you"), however,
are always in dative and the object in nominative.
ObConlang: in my Elvish languages, I use a system similar to the
Georgian aorist series system.
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