THEORY: Cross-Referencing the Arguments of Consecutive Verbs, And Similar Things
|From:||Tom Chappell <tomhchappell@...>|
|Date:||Friday, July 1, 2005, 0:49|
Hello, anyone who feels like answering.
Occasionally two different clauses share some of their arguments.
Some languages have a way of indicating this, and take advantage of it.
For example, in serial-verb languages, if a series of verbs have all of the same
arguments in all of the same grammatical roles and relations, the sentence may
consist of a complete clause followed by the rest of the verbs in sequence.
In such cases, there is no need to inflect any verb but either the first verb or
the last verb for the person, number, or gender of its core arguments -- on the
other verbs it is necessary only to mark either that it has exactly the same
arguments as the verb before it, or that it has exactly the same arguments as
the verb after it.
Frequently, also, either only the first or only the last verb of the sequence is fully
inflected for tense, mood, and aspect.
There are also languages, such as, if I remember what I was told, Classical Hebrew
and Medieval Welsh, which have, in narrative, a "consecutive" device as
follows. A sentence is written, and then, as long as the subject and the tense
stays the same and no negative is encountered, a series of verb-phrases is
piled on with "ands"; these are written by means of de-verbal nouns (gerunds or
infinitives or supines) in Welsh, iirc.
There are also languages in which verbs are marked as "same subject" or "different subject".
Depending on the language, iirc, this can mean
"subject (same as)/(different from) previous verb" or
"subject (same as)/(different from) next verb".
[WHAT ABOUT A MAIN AND A SUBORDINATE CLAUSE?]
So far the examples I've given have either been co-ordinate clauses or what the
Role-and-Reference Grammarians call "co-subordinate" clauses.
But there's no reason I know of to doubt that some natlang out there does
something similar for marking the common arguments between a main clause and
its subordinate clause.
Who knows one?
[WILD BLUE YONDER]
[I MEAN, SPECULATIONS AND QUESTIONS]
Consider just two clauses, and suppose one of the comes before the other.
Each has up to three core arguments, and may or may not also have oblique arguments.
On each verb, we might want to mark the following information:
1) The fate of each of its core arguments in the other clause --- whether (and if
so which) one of up to three core argument positions, or an oblique argument
position (don't care which), or no mention.
2) The fate of each of the other clause's core arguments in this clause ---
whether (and if so which) one of up to three core argument positions, or an
oblique argument position (don't care which), or no mention.
3) Whether or not all of this clause's oblique arguments are among the arguments
of the other clause.
4) Whether or not all of the other clause's oblique arguments are among the
arguments of this clause.
If we marked, for each verb, both how it disposed of the arguments of the
previous verb and of the next verb; then, for a ditransitive verb between two
ditransitive verbs, we could have 16 pieces of such information marked. For the
core-arguments (subject, direct object, and indirect object) of the previous
and next verb, we would have one piece of information each (6 pieces in all),
each of which could have five values (subject, direct object, indirect object,
oblique argument, no mention). For each of the current verb's core arguments
there would be two such pieces of information, one concerning how it appeared
to the previous verb, and one concerning how it appeared to the next verb;
obviously, these latter 6 pieces of information would not be completely
logically independent of the former 6 pieces of information. Finally we would
find out whether all of the oblique arguments of the current verb were
arguments of the previous verb, or vice versa, and whether all of the !
argements of the current verb are going to be arguments of the next verb, or vice versa.
I haven't worked out exactly how much marking would be needed in the
maximally-marked case. Things vary depending on
1) Is this the first verb, or not?
2) Is this the last verb, or not?
3) What is this verb's valency?
4) What was the valency of the previous verb?
5) What is going to be the valency of the next verb?
Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?
How "bad" does this sort of thing get in natural languages?
[OTHER PEOPLE'S CONLANGS]
Does anyone have an example of a ConLang they think would be particularly good here?
[APPLICATIVE? VOICES AND INDIRECT OBJECTS]
Is anyone aware of a process by which an Oblique argument can be moved into the
Indirect Object position, similar to the Applicative Voice process by which an
Oblique argument can be moved into the Direct Object position?
One of the advantages of the Applicative Voice is that, after the Applicative
transformation has been applied, the Passive transformation can still be
applied on top of that.
If a process of the type I asked for in the paragraph above exists, does it
produce a sentence to which Dative Movement or Anti-Dative Movement can be
[APPLICATIVE AND ANTI-PASSIVE IN ERGATIVE LANGUAGES]
I'm pretty sure there are Ergative languages that have been said to have
Applicative Voices; does anyone know for a fact that there are? Can anyone give
an example? If there are, what exactly does "Applicative" mean in an Ergative
language? After an Applicative transformation is applied, can an Anti-Passive
transformation be applied to the result?
(Please note that the uses of the words "transformation" and "process" above does not
imply my commitment to, nor even understanding of, any kind of
"transformational grammar" or "item-and-process grammar", nor theories
Thank anyone who even tries to answer, or even clarify, any of these questions.
Tom H.C. in MI
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