Re: conjugating by object
|From:||Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, January 5, 2003, 19:47|
Quoting Pavel Iosad <pavel_iosad@...>:
> > 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:
'I look at him'
'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