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Re: THEORY: Odd case systems (was Re: Charlie and I)

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Monday, September 20, 1999, 13:07
> X-Accept-Language: en > Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 12:27:25 -0500 > From: "Thomas R. Wier" <artabanos@...>
> (2) Hlax^ suunaadax^ agukux^ > boy:AbsSg boat:AbsSg make:Pres:SgSub > "The boy is making a boat."
> (4) Hlam aguqaa > boy:RELSg make:Past:SgObj > "The boy made it."
> It looks like all this might have evolved out of an ergative- > absolutive system, but clearly isn't now, because the relative and > absolutive can both be used for syntactic subjects of any type of > verb [...]
The morphology does look very much like that of other Inuit languages, whose verbal agreement systems are indeed almost perfectly ergative- absolutive. If Atkan Aleut had kept the same system, your second example would come out as
> (2') Hlam suunaadax^ agukaa > boy:RelSg boat:AbsSg make:Pres:SgSub+SgObj > "The boy is making a boat."
(The subject and object suffixes are fused together in the modern languages, so you can't say which part is which). Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)