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 , 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
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.
"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 ):
| 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 on these supposed difficulties with identifying a subject
| 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 av-look.at 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 you.sg
| `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'.