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Re: "Free" word order (was Re: Greek definite article (was Re: Addendum: a holy spirit))

From:Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 15, 2004, 4:46
> On Tue, 14 Dec 2004 08:06:52 +0000, > Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...> wrote: > > > Don't you just love "free" word order languages? Out of interest, how > > many people have current conlangs with word order determined by > > pragmatics rather than a fixed word order? And if focus/topic/other > > factor determine your word order, have you worked out the rules in > > detail? What's the focus position? Topic position (if there is one)? etc >
I ran into this problem with Kash, and never came up with good answers, and so glossed over the whole matter....... 1. In simple SV intrans. sentences, it's possible to invert to VS; I'm not sure how that changes things, but I suspect-- Basic: çenji yavóko ~yavoko çénji 'Shenji coughed' (Main S stress marked). My feeling for Kash is that çenji yavoko would be the answer to: What did Shenji do? Whereas yavoko çenji answers: Who coughed? I recall similar things from Spanish grammar: Juan tosó ~Tosó Juan, and am no longer sure whether there's any difference. And something similar in Engl. in writing dialogue: John said (?*Said John), "blah blah." vs. "Blah blah" said John ~John said. 2. In the so-called passive, where the DO is simply fronted with no other changes, I've never been sure where the subject/agent goes; intuitively I prefer OVS, but I think OSV would be permissible too. çenji yarungombra lopan 'Shenji slaughtered a lopa(acc.)' lopan yarungombra çenji 'Shenji slaughtered a _lopa_' or 'a lopa was slaughtered by Shenji' lopan çenji yarungombra same translation but sounds awkward somehow. Topic is different-- it's also fronted, but must be definite, in Nom. case, and set off with intonation; a resumptive pronoun is usually required too: Lopa ya, çenji yan yarungombra (nom.)det/ S 3.acc V 'As for that/the lopa, Sh. slaughtered it' Agentless passives are easy-- simply the fronted DO and a verb in 3rd pl: lopan irungombra 'a lopa was slaughtered' (lit. they slaughtered a lopa). (S)VO irungombra lopan could be translated either way. (Only animate nouns are marked for DO, with acc. or dat. case.) 3. A problem would arise if both S and O are inanimates, since Nom. and Acc. cases are identical. In some cases semantics/real world knowledge would keep things clear as in active [surf]S [erode]V [beach]O vs. "Passive" [beach]O [erode]V [surf]S-- a SVO reading here would not make sense. There could be ambiguous cases: [hammer][break][rock] could be either active or passive, as could [rock][break][hammer]-- perhaps in both cases the Subject ought to stay pre-verb: [hammer]DO [rock]S [break]V = the hammer was broken by the rock' and [beach]O [surf]S [erode]V. Context would also help; but I suspect Kash speakers would tend to avoid the construction in this case.


Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>Spanish Word Order (was Re: "Free" word order (was Re: Greek definite article (was Re: Addendum: a holy spirit)))
Chris Bates <chris.maths_student@...>