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Re: Further language development Q's

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 21, 2004, 18:18
Date:    Mon, 20 Sep 2004 18:21:44 +0200
From:    Carsten Becker <naranoieati@...>
Subject: Re: Further language development Q's

El Tedashan 19 2004 21:19 enin, Th. Wier meshená:
> > So, you may want to consider keeping > > vestiges of the trigger system around. (Ask me about > > Mingrelian sometime, which is a really neat example of > > vestiges like this.) > > You are asked herewith.
So, in Georgian you have this wacky Split-S case-assignment system like the following: First Conj. 2nd 3rd. 4th Present series: Nom-Dat-(Dat) Nom Nom Dat-Nom Aorist series: Erg-Nom-(Dat) Nom Erg Dat-Nom Perfect series: Dat-Nom-(-tvis) Nom Dat Dat-Nom (where order represents the notional agent/experiencer- patient-goal) You thus have two classes of intransitives (the 2nd and 3rd conjugations, one (the 3rd) that behaves like the subjects of 1st conj. in the aorist, and one (the 2nd) that behaves like the object of the 1st conj. Now, Mingrelian is about as closely related to Georgian as Spanish is to, say, Romanian, so they look largely the same. However, Mingrelian made one crucial change that alters the whole alignment of the system: it extended the ergative marker -k (which is by accident the same as that of Basque) to be the subject marker of both second and third conjugation series. Thus, in effect, you have: First Conj. 2nd 3rd. (4th) Present series: Nom-Dat-(Dat) Nom Nom Dat-Nom Aorist series: Erg-Nom-(Dat) Erg Erg Dat-Erg (I use parentheses around the fourth conjugation, mostly psych verbs like 'love' and 'hate', since in Mingrelian there is reason to believe these are just special kinds of second conjugation verbs.) Thus, by extending the ergative marker to intransitives, but only in the past, a former split-S system like Georgian has become essentially recognizable as an nominative-accusative system, even if still somewhat bizarre. This is the closest thing I've seen to tense being marked on nouns in a Real Language.
> > > I mean like in the > > > example I gave, "to invent" -> "being invented", where > > > "being invented" is "invent.CAU". > > > > This sounds more like a passive to me than a causative. > > Yeah, actually you're right. Nevertheless I don't see why I > should not form stative passives with the causative. IMO, > something is "caused to be done" after all.
This is a plausible diachronic change, but you probably shouldn't call it a causative. Or: just make the regular causative homophonous with the stative-passive, but syntactically distinct. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637