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Re: coexisting case question

From:Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
Date:Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 5:38
On Sep 8, 2008, at 5:36 PM, René Uittenbogaard wrote:

> My question concerns the case of which I've forgotten the name, > let me call it the "reverse genitive" case just for convenience.
It sounds like you're thinking of the construct state of the Semitic languages. Note that I didn't say case; AIUI it is a category separate from the case system.
> The idea behind it was that the possessed thing is in the "reverse > genitive" case and the possessor in the appropriate case in the > sentence: > > I-NOM look_at palace-ACC king-GEN. > I'm looking at the palace of the king. > > vs. > > I-NOM look_at palace-REVGEN king-ACC. > I'm looking at the palace of the king.
I don't know of a language that would put the possessed in the construct state AND allow the possessor to take various cases. IIRC in Arabic the possessor, when marked for case at all, is always put in the genitive. Anyone know for sure? But it does sound like a cool idea!
> Now my question is: would it be very unlikely for a language to use > this "reverse genitive" case only for quantities, and the usual > genitive otherwise, so that the following constructs coexisted: > > For "usual" genitives: > I-NOM hold book-ACC lady-GEN. > I am holding a book of the lady. > > But for quantities: > I-NOM hold glass-REVGEN wine-ACC. > I am holding a glass of wine. > > We might even label this last example as "quantitative case". > What's in a name, but it looks a lot more plausible like this :)
This actually looks like what's called the partitive case in Finnish and maybe some other languages. I don't see any reason why a language couldn't employ this division of labor. I am considering something similar in a language I'm (slowly) working on that has a construct state. As for natlangs, Ainu has something that looks to me a lot like a construct state, and besides that you can also form possessives by affixing pronominal prefixes or nouns to the verb <kor>, which means "to have". Which construction you use depends to some extent on whether the possession is inalienable, but there are exceptions to that.
> > I-NOM hold glass-QUANT wine-ACC. > I am holding a glass of wine. > > Thanks in advance, > > René


Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>