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Re: Weird case marking patterns

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Saturday, March 25, 2006, 20:46
>>Are you trying to say we could add "verbs" as the topmost entry of >>this hierarchy? A bit counterintuitive, but why not, if it works. > >I'm not saying anything like that. The Nominal Hierarchy has >to do with NPs' capability of functioning as agents. Verbs >can't function as agents. What does happen is that the >"agentness" of the verb arguments gets marked on the verb.
No, I know the nominal animacy hierarchy has several uses; it's just that according to what you quoted, verbs < nouns with regards to tendency for erg/abs rather than nom/acc marking; and nouns would be subdivided exactly according to their animacy. Furthermore, the existence of split-S languages shows that verbs also have a subdivision of active verbs < stative verbs. Yes, the actual marking ends up in the nouns, but it's the verbs that govern it.
>If I recall Trask correctly Basque auxiliaries are >ergatively marked. Main verbs usually only exist in >infinite form.
Now this was the sort of stuff I was asking about. So would this mean verbs proper < auxiliaries? I also thought of a setup similar to what you were suggesting for Sohlob. You added an inst/abs section above the erg/abs section, thus getting three divisions of the scale. Another way to get three divisions would be to instead add something between nom/acc and erg/abs. Frex, nom/acc agreement on verbs, tripartite pronouns, and erg/abs nouns. I can't just now think of anything that could be added below nom/acc, nor if analogous ditransitiv alignment division would be possible, but I'll keep the idea in mind. I have a project where something like this would fit rather well. John Vertical