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

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Wednesday, November 17, 2004, 7:06
On Tue, Nov 16, 2004 at 08:38:47PM -0500, Kit La Touche wrote:
> trying to fit TF into a natlang paradigm:
Hehe, be prepared for a misfit. :-)
> it looks like TF has a rich case system, word-order focus and no verb > voice. possibly also some sort of topic-comment structure.
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.
> as to whether it's accusative or not, what case would "boy" be in "the > boy died"?
> and what case would "boy" be in "the boy took a walk"?
> if they have the same case, and it's the same as that of > agentive-type cases elsewhere, then it's essentially nominative.
Usually the originative is used for agentive purposes, e.g., "to ignite" uses the originative for the ignitor. However, the originative is also used for the thing being seen in the verb "to see". (Good luck rationalizing that one.)
> if it has the same case as patient-type cases elsewhere, then it's > essentially ergative.
Not always. It depends on the verb. For example, with "to kill" the person killed is conveyant, but with "to hit", the person being hit is receptive. Similarly, with "to walk" the walker is in the conveyant, whereas with "to speak" the speaker is in the originative.
> if they both take different cases, then you're doing what looks like > theta-role assignment directly on verbs, or something like.
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.
> 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?
> 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.)
> trigger case, as i understand it, goes something like this: > > there is a case called "trigger" which some noun phrase in a sentence > will have. what theta-role is assigned to this argument is determined > by another morpheme on the verb, which says "trigger gets theta-role > X."
[...] Ah, I see. So triggeriness is specifically referring to that particular syntactical marking of the trigger noun and case marking on the verb, rather than a more general case of the "special relationship" between the verb and the trigger that I was postulating. T -- Ignorance is bliss... but only until you suffer the consequences!


Kit La Touche <kit@...>