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Re: Tagalog & trigger idea: I'd like comments. :)

From:Kit La Touche <kit@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 22:20
On Nov 16, 2004, at 9:32 PM, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> Hehe, be prepared for a misfit. :-)
yeah - i never expected a perfect fit, i just thought i'd see if i could describe any of it as if it were a natlang - no intent to fit it into boxes that don't work.
> There are only 3 core cases. Well, maybe 4, if you consider the > unmarked absolutive a case (it is used only in stative constructions > and zero-valent "verb" constructions). Or 5, if you count the > vocative, but the vocative is weird in the sense that you can tack on > one of the 3 core cases to it and turn it into an NP simultaneously > vocative and originative, for example.
i'd definitely consider an unmarked one a case. [...]
> Yeah, the cases are semantically rather than syntactically selected. > However, it doesn't quite use the agent/patient paradigm, but instead > a source/destination/transferee paradigm.
well, the agent/patient paradigm is sort of mappable to source/transferee, with destination being the goal, in theta-role terms, but all these things are pretty mushy and imprecise, relatively speaking, so a mapping doesn't say much...
>> i've been told this is known from one australian language, so it's >> not out of the realm of natlangs. > > Cool, do you know which one?
no, sadly. i've heard it as rumour, more or less, but i could ask around - none of my professors specialize in austronesian language, so ...
>> my remark about a topic-comment structure is an attempt to explain in >> natlang-terms the difference in implied object for "kissed" in the >> sentence below. > > Hmm. I think the difficulty stems from trying to map Tatari Faran > cases on the traditional subject/object paradigm. If one is willing to > stretch the definition of "object" to cover all verb arguments (i.e. > everything following the verb) and call the fronted NP the "subject", > then the difficulty disappears: the "subject" of the 1st clause is the > fronted NP, which is identical to the "subject" of the 2nd clause, and > hence it is elided. A simple case of identical subject deletion. The > case marker is retained, however, because otherwise it becomes > ambiguous which semantic role the "subject" plays in the 2nd clause. > > (My explanation for the retention of the case marker in the 2nd clause > is that historically, the case markers were pronouns.)
no, subject/object has nothing to do with this, i don't think: the pivot need not be subject or object, per se, but need be in the less marked syntactic case - usually nominative, but consider dyirbal, which is syntactically ergative and therefore allows: 1) the man kissed the woman and left. to mean only that the woman left - "woman" would be have the same syntactic case as object of kiss and subject of leave, therefore it pivots. with TF, though, i was thinking that perhaps whichever NP is fronted is a topic, and the rest of the sentence is a comment, so you can pivot around the topic, as it were, by something like absent pronominals. actually, what you say about ambiguity of theta-role for elided "subjects" gets me thinking - perhaps, in a natlang paradigm, one could say that TF has voice, but it's never phonologically distinct. again, this is all an attempt to describe TF as a natlang just to see if i can get something approximate. not all my explanations fit perfectly, thank goodness :-) kit


H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>