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Re: Case or theta-role term for object of performance?

From:David McCann <david@...>
Date:Thursday, August 7, 2008, 15:21
On Wed, 2008-08-06 at 09:35 -0400, Jim Henry wrote:
> In sentences like these, > > * Kate sang a madrigal. > > * We played four games of Go. > > -- it seems to me there's a common element the direct objects have; > they're transitory processes called into existence while the action > of the verb is being performed.
> Is there a standard > term in linguistics for this theta role or case? Are there natlangs or > conlangs that consistently mark this role distinctively from patients, > and if so, what other theta roles tend to be marked with the same > case?
I couldn't remember any examples, and a quick check of Palmer's "Grammatical roles and relations" doesn't show any sentences of this type, but I should think that it would be covered by the distinction between affected and unaffected patients. In Ga'dang (Austronesian), the verbal marking shows if the patient (when the topic) is altered (e.g. broken) or not (e.g. tied up). Rather differently, in Japanese things you read are accusative, those you like are nominative, and people you meet are dative. In Tabassaran (Caucasian), things you look at are in the dative. It seems too esoteric to ever get its own case or verbal marking (and so to need a term in linguistics), but the object of a performance could obviously be treated as a dative or partitive, or put into an oblique case as in gzb. The performer would seem to be nominative or ergative: after all, they are *doing* something, unlike one who experiences a sight or liking. Of course, some people want a word for *everything*: generally in wikis rather than in books, though.


Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>