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Re: not un-/anti-passive

From:Eldin Raigmore <eldin_raigmore@...>
Date:Monday, June 23, 2008, 18:57
On Sun, 22 Jun 2008 14:38:41 +0300, JR <fuscian@...> wrote:
>On Fri, Jun 20, 2008 at 8:24 PM, Eldin Raigmore <eldin_raigmore@...> >wrote: >>In applicative languages, one of the reasons to promote an oblique >>argument to direct (or primary) object, is so that passivization can be >>applied to the result, and thus the oblique argument can wind up as >>subject....
>Indeed. I came across another reason yesterday while looking through my >grammar of Yimas, a Papuan language with six applicatives (in addition to >possessor raising to dative). According to the author, when something can be >expressed with an applicative or without one, the former is much more >likely, just because it's more polysynthetic. The closer you can get to a >one word sentence, the better!
>>>I am under the impression that "argument" >>means "required by the verb", and that "core" means "occupies a >>grammatical relation (or morphosyntactically-licensed argument position). All >>core participants are arguments, and all adjuncts (non-arguments) are >>oblique (non-core), but there are oblique arguments. >>In a language with only 2 GRs (subject and (only) object), and with no >>clause allowed more than one of any GR, a "ditransitive" clause would have >>to have one of its arguments be oblique. If that's the recipient, then >>recipients are oblique arguments; they aren't objects, because "object" >>means "any core argument other than the subject". >>[snip]
>You're probably right then. I'm no expert - I don't think I ever learned >this stuff properly, and I've seen inconsistent usage that's left me a bit >confused.
Ain't that the truth. I think we conlangers are much more interested in a theory-neutral, cross- linguistically-consistent terminology, than the pros seem to be. Much of my terminology comes from Larry Trask, by way of Ray Brown here on the list. See this thread: < > and prequelae and sequelae and links. A lot of what I say about Grammatical Relations comes from Patrick Farrel's book on them. See e.g. < gy/?view=usa&ci=9780199264018 > or < > . Among the possible problems are, what exactly is meant by "valency"? Is the valency of a verb (while sitting, unused but ready for use, in the lexicon), * the number of _arguments_ it _allows_ (including oblique arguments)? * the number of _arguments_ it _requires_ (including obligatory obliques)? * the number of _core_ arguments it _allows_ ? * the number of _core_ arguments it _requires_ ? Or does "valency" refer to the verb as actually used in a given clause? * the number of _arguments_ actually showing up (including oblique arguments)? * the number of _core_ arguments actually showing up? In a language with only one grammatical relation (that is, Subject, but no Objects (not direct ones, not indirect ones, not primary ones, and not secondary ones), if another argument -- necessarily an _oblique_ argument -- gets "promoted" to Subject, the "original subject" would have to be demoted -- perhaps to a particular oblique, perhaps omitted, perhaps there would be a choice left up to the speaker. Does Jeffrey's voice do that? OTOH, suppose there are two GRs in the language; and Jeffrey's voice applies only to clauses whose "basic", pre-"voice" form happens to have only one GR filled -- the Subject. Jeffrey wants to promote a non-explicit experiencer to Subject, and demote the "erstwhile Subject" to the second GR. This is rather similar to what morphological Causativization does to the agent-of-effect or Causee of instransitive clauses -- at least, when it is valency-raising, which it usually is. In most languages, most of the promoting-and-demoting activity has the last or lowest GR as the source or destination of the promoted or demoted participant. (Most of the rest of that activity has the first or highest GR -- namely the Subject -- as the source or destination; but that's saying a lot less, since it would naturally be informative only for languages with at least three GRs.) So, for instance, languages with 3 GRs tend to have "dative applicatives", but not "applicatives"; to get an oblique argument to the 2nd position (frequently "direct object"), one must apply first "dative applicativization", and then "dative movement". And, in a language with 2 GRs, one can't (usually) directly make an oblique argument become the Subject in just one step; first one must applicativize, then passivize. If a language has 3 GRs, and has morphological causatives, and one has in it a basic monotransitive clause with the first two GRs (Subject and primary or direct Object) filled, and one causativizes that clause, often the Agent (whether it's the former Subject or the Ergative Object) will be demoted to the 3rd GR (indirect object). This is not necessarily what usually happens. And if something similar is the only reason to think there is a third GR some people don't think it's enough of one. Morphological Causativization is one example of "promoting-and-demoting activity" where the destination of the Causer and the source of the Causee tends to be the 1st or highest GR -- the Subject -- at least in Accusative languages.
>Terminology aside, I was trying to see if these experiencers were >lexically required by the verb or not. It could also have been that they >were required for some verbs and not others, so I asked for different >versions of three sentences that I thought would be representative, and >Jeffrey left the experiencers out of all three. To use your (and probably >the most correct) terminology now, I'd say that without this operation with >the ho- affix, they're neither core nor oblique arguments (and as Jeffrey >now says, they're not even expressable at all); but with it, they become >core arguments, namely Subjects. Would you agree with that?
(1) Short, directly-responsive answer: Yes. (2) Jeffrey seems to be "promoting" the Experiencers _from_ completely outside the basic clause. They don't explicitly show up at all in the basic clause. Can they still be regarded as "arguments" if they are implicit? Professionals seem to sometimes write as if "Yes" and sometimes as if "No". (3) Another important point is; does Jeffrey's operation result in something with one more core argument than it used to have? (4) And another: what happens to the "old" core arguments?
>>To me, you look right. (Is that "to me" an ethical dative?)
>I'm open to correction, but I'd say no, because 'to me' fills a certain role >there. 'Looking' a certain way has to be in the eyes of someone or other >(whether it's expressed or not). If there were no one who it looked right >'to', the statement would be false. I thought the ethical dative is just an >aside, a comment, to something that stands on its own.
To me, that looks right, too. ;-)
>>If your analysis is correct, he could also borrow whatever term grammarians >>ofTagalog use to describe the voice that has this meaning.
>I'm not aware that there is anything quite like this in Tagalog.
Does Tagalog have no way to make the Recipient the "trigger" participant?
>>In 3-GR (or 3-MAP) languages, if an oblique argument is promoted to the 3rd >>GR ("indirect object" in many languages), this is often called "dative >>applicative". If the resulting clause then undergoes "dative movement", >>that originally-oblique argument might wind up in the 2nd GR (primary >>object ordirect object).
>What languages have dative applicatives?
Halkomelem, apparently. < > < > < > Creek, maybe? < > Maa < > Romanian? < > Also see < > <
< >
>You're speaking of something other than possessor raising, right?
IMO "possessor raising" might be reasonably regarded as a particular kind of "dative applicative", perhaps depending on other structural features and transformations in the language. If it's the only kind in a particular language the grammarian is unlikely to mention that it's a kind of "dative applicative", though.
>>Tagalog and (some? Many? Most? All?) other "trigger" languages appear to >>have only one GR or MAP; the subject. They don't have objects; all >>arguments other than the subject are oblique arguments. A voice that >>promotes an oblique argument has to promote it directly to subject.
>Tagalog & friends are a little too difficult and contentious for me to deal >with these days. Everyone has their own theory and it's hard to argue, and >when you do it can get ugly, sort of like cross and crown. I also don't >remember the details so well now, and perhaps I never knew them well >enough. >I took a course in college on the structure of Tagalog though - my prof >there thought it had an ergative-absolutive alignment, an active and an >antipassive voice, and the other "voices" were applicatives. No triggers in >sight. > >What do you use GR and MAP to stand for? Grammatical relation? And ...?
GR stands for Grammatical Relation. It's a theory-neutral term; what's not theory-neutral is, whether it's a useful term or not. MAP stands for Morphosyntactically-licensed Argument Position. It's used by Mapping Theory. Mapping Theory attempts to rescue what's useful from Relational Grammar and cure it of its flaws. Both proponents and many opponents of Mapping Theory think Relational Grammar had flaws; some don't think anybody can cure them, though, and they don't like Mapping Theory either.
>>I'm not sure whether Malagasay actually has indirect objects. Or objects at >>all. Maybe it's a 2-GR language, and some clauses we'd think of as >>"ditransitive", are actually "dechticaetiative" (or something); the (only, >>hence primary) object is the recipient, and the theme is an oblique >>argument. Or maybe it's a 1-GR language, and both the theme and the >>recipient are oblique arguments, and to promote either to subject requires >>the same marking on the verb, the one you've called "passive voice". Or >>maybe it's a 3-GR language. >>Have you considered all of those? What do your sources tell you that would >>support or contradict each possibility? Or is the most-preferable analysis >>one I omitted?
>I can't say I've looked into these matters enough to have formed my own >opinions. For indirect objects in Malagasy, I think I was going according to >the analysis in this paper: >< >. >If it were 2-GR, and IOs were really oblique,
There wouldn't be any IOs. All Os woud be D. "Give" might, or might not, have two forms; give1 and give2 (like Smi5th's name in the show "Taxi", where "the 5 is silent"). "I give1 you" (object is recipient; theme is implicit or adjunct or oblique) and "I give2 the answer" (object is theme; recipient is implicit or adjunct or oblique). Note that both have only one Object. There is only one kind of Object; the terms "direct object" and "indirect object" make no sense when talking about this kind of language.
>why would they use the same passive as the DO, instead of the >circumstantial?
If it were a 2-GR language, we might have "You were give1n (by me)" as passivization of "I give1 you", and "The answer was give2n (by me)" as passivization of "I give2 the answer". Both would be passive; the same voice would be applied, but to two different verbs. In one of those verbs (give2), the "original" object would have been the Theme, but in the other (give1), the "original object" would have been the Recipient. If it were a 1-GR language, then all "voices" would be promoting an oblique argument to Subject. In a 1-GR language that might be what "passivization" means; obviously "passivization" has to mean something slightly different when discussing languages with 2 or more GRs than when discussing languages with only 1. Such a language might distinguish whether the promoted oblique -- the "new subject" -- was the theme or the recipient, by marking the passivized verb somehow; others might not. In the latter case, "the same voice would be used" for both themes and recipients. In a 1-GR language I see no good reason to distinguish between the terms "passive voice" and "circumstantial voice", at least not based on our discussion so far; one would need to re- define these terms so that there meaning, when talking about the 1-GR language, would be clear.
>If you really want to know about Mal., though, ask Matt Pearson - he used >to be on this list, though I haven't seen him in a while.
>I'm not familiar with this 1-GR notion. Are there any languages where such >an analysis is generally accepted,
Short answer: "Generally" accepted? No. Long answer: Well. Not everyone thinks there are GRs. Aristotle did, but Panini didn't use them. Not everyone who thinks there are GRs thinks every language has them. Among people who think there are GRs, there are some languages about which there is some controversy over how many the language has. Most languages seem to have either 2 or 3 GRs, according to these people; but there are some languages about which not enough is known yet to decide. Amongst such languages are included a few about which a great deal is known, yet this question is still undecided, and hence probably undecidable. Among people who think some languages have GRs and some don't, there are some languages about which there is disagreement over whether they have them or not. Tagalog (and its friends) is one such; some people think it has one and only one GR (the Subject), some think it has no GRs at all, and some can't make up their minds yet. I think the idea that it has two or more GRs has much less support than the idea that it has one and only one. Languages which appear to probably have exactly one GR, as well as languages which appear to probably have four GRs, seem to be rare. Among people who even admit any languages at all have any GRs at all, there is disagreement about whether or not some languages don't have them; some people think every language has Subjects, some think a few don't. There are people who don't think 4 is the upper limit on number of GRs. The writers I've read who say that are close to thinking that the idea of GRs is not very useful in any universal-grammar sense, partly because they think some languages don't really have an upper limit.
>preferably not Austronesian? :-)
I do not know of any non-Austronesian ones. I just tried to search, and didn't find one in the first 7 pages returned. See < >
>>ObYourConlang: Is Khafos in the same genetic grouping as Malagasay and >>Tagalog? >No relation, I'm afraid! > >Josh
Thanks, Josh.


Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>