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From:Jason Monti <yukatado@...>
Date:Monday, March 19, 2007, 2:29
Hi everyone!

I have another question that will probably leave the experts rolling their eyes
at my "n00bidity", but it's been nagging me.

Why is it that the copula takes two nominatives, rather than a nominative and
an accusative, even though it seems to me at least to be a bivalent verb?

While I know that prescriptively, in answer to the question, "Who is Jason?" I
should technically answer "It is I", but in reality, most of us (at least, speakers
of American English) would answer, "It's me" instead.

In Japanese, that which is, doesn't really take a case, and the subject still
takes a nominative (ga) or topicalizer (wa): "watashi desu (It is I)"; "Hataraite
iru hito wa kare desu (The one who is working is he)".

So the question is why is it that the copula is considered to be intransitive? I
can see why the existential "be" is intransitive ("there he is!") but why would
the copula be intransitive? It seems awfully transitive to me. Are there any
langauges that treat the copula as a transitive verb?

Of course, this hinges on the language even having a copula in the first place,
obligatory or not.


David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
R A Brown <ray@...>
H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>