Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Ergative?

From:Vasiliy Chernov <bc_@...>
Date:Friday, September 28, 2001, 18:32
On Fri, 28 Sep 2001 13:31:29 -0400, The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>
>> 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
>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? Actually, I meant *English*. How can you tell the English _by_ from an ergative marker? [...]
>> My father builds (antipassive) houses. >> >> How do you decline such an analysis? > >Antipassives are difficult to express in English since English doesn't have >an antipassive. Consider: > >(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 Oblique? 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... :)
>I think I read somewhere that while Tagalog is syntactically ergative that >its argument expression uses a trigger mechanism. I may be completely
>on this however.
Interesting, and more like being the case...
>> Typically, the descriptions went on as follows: "T. has normal >> active voice; >> curiously, it also has several passives; moreover, it uses its passives >> 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
>> >> Do you see where I'm pointing? Reminds of something, doesn't it? >> >> This is why I ask about the criteria. How do they draw the distinction >> between 'ergative vs. antipassive' and 'passive vs. active'? > >I don't know enough about Tagalog to follow this.
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. Basilius


The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>