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Double verbs and topic marking

From:Kalle Bergman <seppu_kong@...>
Date:Monday, September 25, 2006, 19:44

After having been somewhat of a lurker here for a
while, I've decided to make my first post about a
design issue.

Trollish (The idea is that it's spoken by the trolls
of scandinavian folklore) is a SOV language with
morphological topic marking, similar to japanese. For

Mi -ön  zö  ruuka
1sg-TOP 2sg See
"(As for me,) I see you"

There is a type of sentence in which a complement
clause preceedes a head clause, called double verb
constructions. The causative construction is an
example of this:

Zö  töru-sti  mi  ka  -sti
2sg Die -PAST 1sg Make-PAST
"I killed you" (lit. "I made you die")

Now, if the first subject in the construction recieves
the topic-marker "-ön", this gives the sentence a
sense of passiveness:

Zö -n   töru-sti  mi  ka-sti
2sg-TOP Die -PAST 1sg Make-PAST
"(As for you,) you were killed by me"

If you want to topicalize the subject of the second
clause, you simply move it to the front, leaving a
zero-subject behind.

Mi -ön  zö  töru-sti  0 ka-sti
1sg-TOP 2sg Die -PAST 0 Make-PAST
"(As for me,) I killed you"

Does this seem like a construction that could appear
in  a natural language? I figure it makes sense for
the head clause to follow the subordinate clause in a
head-last language, but I really wouldn't know, and my
understanding of how morphological topic-marking works
i sketchy to say the least.

/Kalle B