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Re: Ergative?

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Friday, September 28, 2001, 19:22
On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 14:51:27 -0400, The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>

>> From: Vasiliy Chernov >> On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 13:31:29 -0400, The Gray Wizard
>> wrote: >> [...] >> >> The house (P, abs) was built by my grandfather (erg.). The >> house (S, abs) >> >> will stand for long. >> >> >> >> No? >> > >> >This is the case where ergative is used not just for the A-function >> argument >> >of an active predicate, but when it is also used for the oblique >> reference >> >to the demoted A-function argument in the passive. >> >> How do you measure demotedness? > >Passive operators typically have the semantic effect of giving topical >prominence to the Patient thus "demoting" the Agent which may be
>or obliquely referenced.
So, compatibility with topicalization is a possible criterion? (I'm not objecting, just collecting candidate criteria) I think in Russian this is only a tendency; in principle, agents of passives can indeed be topicalized. [...]
>> >(1) My father-ERG build-ACT houses-ABS "My father builds houses" >> >(2) My father-ABS build-ANTIP (houses-DAT) "My father builds, (houses)" >> >> How do you identify the case of _houses_ as Dative and not simply
>> The construction in (2) does look superficialy accusative, and I >> guess real >> verbal forms don't have the labels 'Active' and 'Antipassive', red on >> yellow, all caps... :) > >Of course I should have said simply Oblique. I was influenced by my
>which uses the dative in this case.
That is, you already know you have no accusatives ;) So what if you don't?
>> >> Typically, the descriptions went on as follows: "T. has normal >> >> active voice; >> >> curiously, it also has several passives; moreover, it uses its
>> >> more often than its active voice; BTW, imperative sentences >> are construed >> >> using one of the passives (e. g. 'drink it' as 'let it be drunk by >> you')".
>> My point wasn't about Tagalog; just imagine you're reading a description >> like the above... I haven't invented it myself, just compressed to one >> sentence. > >I still have insufficient information to follow this. In what way does >having multiple passives further confuse the distinction between 'ergative >vs. antipassive' and 'passive vs. active'?
Not multiple passives (though they do complicate the case, I think); rather, the fact that 'active' (= accusative) isn't the default option. Basilius