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Re: In defense of "unergative" (Re: cases)

From:Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 13, 2000, 5:54
At 11:04 am -0700 12/9/00, J Matthew Pearson wrote:
> >The only reason why "unergative verb" now seems like a strange term is >because most >American linguists have dropped the term "ergative verb", preferring instead >"unaccusative verb".
"unaccusative verb"? Now that is misleading if one doesn't know the jargon! To classists like myself it would suggest, if anything, verbs that govern some other case than the accusative, e.g. in Latin: fidere (to trust) governs the dative. [ei fidere = I trust her] misereri (to pity) governs the genitive [eius misereor = I pity her] uti (to use, treat) governs the ablative [ea amica utor = I treat her as a friend] Most verbs that have objects, of course, express that object with the accusative case, e.g. eam amo = I love her
>(In which case, I suppose, unergative verbs ought to be renamed >accusative verbs, but they aren't...)
.....because, of course, being intransitive, they would not govern the accusative. But then if it doesn't make sense to call unergative verbs 'accusative verbs', one must surely question the aptness of calling ergative verbs 'unaccusative'.
>Most European linguists have retained the term >"ergative verb",
Because they are? :)
>....and so for them the meaning of "unergative verb" is still >transparent.
Q.E.D. Ray. ========================================= A mind which thinks at its own expense will always interfere with language. [J.G. Hamann 1760] =========================================