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

From:Tim May <butsuri@...>
Date:Friday, November 19, 2004, 22:43
I'd like to refer those following this discussion to my post about a
month ago [1], wherein I attempted to explain the "trigger" system to
Rodlox.  Not so much for what I said (much of the material having been
covered, perhaps better, by others in the present thread) but for the
collection of links I assembled there.

Ray Brown wrote at 2004-11-19 18:42:10 (+0000)

 > The more I learn about this construction, the more I feel we are
 > dealing with 'voice', with the one NP argument or another promoted
 > to subject. The fact that English (and Latin & most european
 > languages) have only active and passive voice does not, of course,
 > mean that those are the only two.  We know that ancient Greek had a
 > third 'voice', known as 'middle'. Trask lists, besides active,
 > middle & passive: "reflexive, causative, and adjutative, to name a
 > few".

I agree that these differences from the voice systems of more familiar
languages do not necessarily mean that the "trigger" or "focus" system
should not be described as a form of voice.  Indeed, it is often
described as "symmetrical voice" - see e.g. Foley[2].

"Subject" is a little tricky.  For example, Himmelmann uses the term,
but is careful to qualify it, as in the following (a footnote from
this paper [3]):

 | As is well-known, considerable controversy surrounds the question of
 | whether the grammatical relation subject exists in Tagalog. Following
 | Schachter (1976), it is generally agreed that ang-phrases in
 | post-predicate position show many but not all of the presumably
 | universal subject properties proposed by Keenan (1976). Still, as
 | argued in detail by DeWolf (1979:67-86, 1988:144-150) and Kroeger
 | (1993), ang-phrases may be analysed as subjects because they exhibit a
 | substantial number of important subject properties (such as being the
 | only argument that can launch floating quantifiers, control secondary
 | predicates, be relativised and be omitted in conjunction reduction)
 | while other subject diagnostics are inapplicable or inconclusive. The
 | major point of contention pertains to the so-called agent-related
 | properties of subjects, in particular the properties of serving as the
 | antecedent in reflexive constructions, the target in Equi-NP deletions
 | and the addressee in imperatives. To some extent, Kroeger and
 | Schachter disagree here about the empirical facts (cf. Kroeger
 | 1993:36-40, 71-107 and Schachter 1995:21-27). More importantly, it is
 | doubtful whether these properties in fact provide reliable diagnostics
 | for grammatical relations. Artawa & Blake (1997:505f), among others,
 | profess serious doubts in this regard and argue for the viability of
 | the subject notion in Balinese, a language for which the basic facts
 | relevant to this issue are quite similar to the Tagalog ones. Here I
 | adopt the position that there are subjects in Tagalog, with the
 | proviso that the subject in Tagalog differs in some regards from
 | subjects in other languages such as English.

Manning[4] on these supposed difficulties with identifying a subject
in Tagalog:

 | Schachter (1977) points out that Tagalog has a split in apparent
 | `subject properties' (in roughly the sense of Keenan (1976))
 | between those borne by the ang-marked NP and those borne by what he
 | calls the Actor - the A or S NP. See (9).
 | (9) Ang-marked NP				Actor
 |     Obligatory element of every clause	Reflexive binding
 |     Launches floating quantifiers		Equi target
 |     Relativization				Imperative addressee

 | Because Keenan's criteria do not consistently pick out a notion of
 | subject in Tagalog, Schachter concludes that the ang-marked NP is the
 | Topic, but that various other properties key off the macrorole of
 | Actor, and that Subject isn't a useful notion in the description of
 | Tagalog. However, he is careful to point out that these Philippinist
 | conceptions of Topic and Actor are somewhat at variance with normal
 | usage (the Topic can be what would normally be called a focus, for
 | example, and the Actor can have various thematic roles in the context
 | of Tagalog verbs meaning roughly `receive' and `endure'). But the
 | Topic has reference-related prominence while the Actor has
 | role-related prominence, serving as the protagonist.

 | Another key property of the Topic is that it is the only position
 | that can be relativized on. This is illustrated in (10) where
 | active voice and objective voice are used when relativizing the
 | actor and patient respectively. (11) shows that it is not possible
 | to form relative clauses unless the gap representing the
 | relativized NP is in the Topic slot.
 | (10) a. Iyon ang=babae=ng  b-um-ili    ng=baro
 | 	   that nom=woman=lnk perf.av-buy gen=dress
 |	   `That's the woman who bought a dress.'
 |      b. Iyon ang=baro=ng   b-in-ili    ng=babae
 |	   that nom=dress=lnk perf-buy.ov gen=woman
 | 	   `That's the dress that a/the woman bought.'
 | (11) *Iyon ang=baro=ng   b-um-ili    ang=babae
 |       that nom=dress=lnk perf.av-buy nom=woman
 | On the other hand, Schachter shows that the Actor can always
 | control a reflexive (regardless of whether it is the Topic) - see
 | (12a-b), while it cannot itself be a reflexive (12c):
 | (12) a. Nag-aalala ang=lolo        sa=kaniyang sarili
 | 	   av-worry   nom=grandfather dat=his     self
 | 	   `Grandfather worries about himself.'
 |      b. Inaalala ng=lolo         ang=kaniyang sarili
 | 	   ov.worry gen=grandfather nom=his      self
 | 	   `Grandfather worries about himself.'
 |      c.*Inaalala ang=lolo        ng=kaniyang sarili
 | 	   ov.worry nom=grandfather gen=his     self
 | Also, in the basic pattern of control, it is always the actor that
 | is the gapped controllee, regardless of the verbal voice of the
 | complement. For example, (13a) shows a topic actor controllee,
 | while (13b) shows a non-topic actor controllee.
 | (13) a. In-iwas-an    ko=ng	 t-um-ingin kay=Lorna
 | 	   perf-avoid-dv I.gen=comp dat=Lorna
 |         `I avoided looking at Lorna.'
 |      b. B-in-awal-an   ko    si=Maria=ng    awit-in ang "Dahil   sa  iyo"
 | 	   perf-forbid-dv I.gen nom=Maria=comp sing-ov nom  because dat
 | 	   `I forbade Maria to sing "Because of you".'

 | Thus the kind of `subject properties' that Keenan (1976b)
 | identifies are split between two NPs in Tagalog sentences (except
 | when the Actor and the Topic coincide) and it is not immediately
 | obvious to which of these we should apply the term `subject'.