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Re: conjugating by object

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Sunday, January 5, 2003, 19:47
Quoting Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...>:

> Hello, > > > What natural languages do this? It's fascinating. > > Not exactly this, but the Chukchi-Kamchatkan, Aleut (and Cree, I hear) > languages express the person of the actant which is higher on the > deictic hierarchy (hierarchies vary). Thus, in Aleut, 'I love her' and > 'She loves me' are expressed identically.
Cree, like other Algonkian languages, expresses the person of the actant according to an animacy, not a deixis, hierarchy, although the two can easily be confused. First and second (together) persons outrank third person animate proximative, which outranks third person animate obviative, which outranks third person inanimate (there is no prox/obv distinction in inanimates). Crucially, there is no ambiguity in grammatical relations: who does what to whom is determined by separate direct or inverse theme markers, which indicate whether the subject outranks the object on the animacy hierarchy. In Meskwaki, the language I've been studying for the last quarter, first and third person affixes do not themselves change: (1) newa:pama:wa ne-wa:pam-a:-w-a 'I look at him' (2) newa:pamekwa ne-wa:pam-ekw-w-a 'He looks a me' This thus constitutes an entirely separate system for grammatical relations, to stand beside nominative-accusative, ergative-absolutive, Split-S, and Fluid-S systems. (It might be noticed that if that were all, relations between first and second persons would be ambiguous. Meskwaki, like other Algonkian languages, gets around this by having distinct first and second person object affixes on the verb.) ========================================================================= 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


Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...>
Garth Wallace <gwalla@...>[despammed] Re: conjugating by object
Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>