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Low animacy noun number mismatch (was Re: Epicene pronoun in english?)

From:Jörg Rhiemeier <joerg_rhiemeier@...>
Date:Tuesday, March 9, 2004, 22:57

On Tue, 9 Mar 2004 00:10:55 -0600,
"Thomas R. Wier" <trwier@...> wrote:

> From: Philippe Caquant <herodote92@...> > > When I learned Ancient Greek at school, we were > > teached the following canonic example: > > > > *Ta zoa trekhei* (omega in zoa) > > > > meaning 'the animals run', or 'are running'. > > > > What's interesting is that 'zoa' in a neuter 3p, and > > trekhei a 3s. > > Yes, it's not surprising cross-lingustically that there > might be a number-mismatch for nouns low in animacy; this > is quite common. However, in Greek this was a regular rule, > but in no English dialect is it regular. [...]
ObConlang: In Old Albic, if the patient argument is inanimate, the verb agreement marker is always singular, even if the argument in question is plural: Ndero barasa mbar. man-AGT build-3SG:P-3SG:A house-OBJ "A man builds a house." Ndero barasa mberim. man-AGT build-3SG:P-3SG:A house-PL-OBJ "A man builds houses." There is no such rule for agent arguments because such arguments are always animate. And on the original subject of epicene pronouns: Old Albic has such a pronoun. `He' is _so_, `she' is _se_, and the epicene pronoun is _sa_. Greetings, Jörg.