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A Split-A Natlang!

 
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 10:51 pm    Post subject: A Split-A Natlang! Reply with quote

I just got an e-mail from a fieldworker.
She (?) is documenting an unrecorded language.
She is pretty sure it has the "Split-A"* type of ditransitive-to-monotransitive alignment.

Very Happy Surprised Cool Exclamation

*That means that some monotransitive clauses treat their Actor like a ditransitive clause's Donor, and some treat their A like a ditransitive clause's Recipient.
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Kiri



Joined: 13 Jun 2009
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Location: Latvia/Italy

PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can you please elaborate on what a Split-A is? (what a Donor is in this sense?)
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kiri wrote:
Can you please elaborate on what a Split-A is? (what a Donor is in this sense?)


Prototypical ditransitive verbs are "give" and "show" and "tell".

The participant I'm calling "Donor" is the donor in "give", the exhibitor in "show", and the narrator in "tell".

The Theme, the entity located or moved, or which changes hands, is the gift in "give", the exhibit in "show", and the tale in "tell".

The "Recipient", the entity conscious of being affected, is the recipient in "give", the viewer or witness or experiencer in "show", and the audience or experiencer in "tell".

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One of the participants will control, perform, instigate, or effect the action denoted by the verb. It will be the animate source. That's the one I'm calling "D"onor. It will often be the most controlling participant; thus it may qualify as the Agent.

One of the participants will be the one located or relocated or moved; perhaps in the figurative sense that its status as a possession will be changed. ("Located" may just mean that the clause tells where it is, or tells us that some participant finds out where it is.) I call that participant the "T"heme. It may be the most affected participant; it's bound to be one of the most affected. So it may qualify as the Patient.

One of the participants will be highly involved, probably less controlling than the Agent but probably more controlling than any other participant, probably less affected than the Patient but probably more affected than any other participant. It usually is an animate and conscious Goal. (If "send" is a ditransitive verb it may sometimes be an inanimate Goal instead.) It usually is conscious of being affected, so it is an Experiencer and/or a Recipient.

Does that help?
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Kiri



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, now I understand what "donor", "theme" and "recipient" is, but I still can't penetrate your first post, mainly because I'm an example-oriented person and can't imagine what that would look like. Can you give a conlang (or cypher) example so that my visual cord would have something to process? Smile
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I can't give a natlang example because I don't know any such natlang.

But, let's suppose we had a verb-initial (for instance) sketchlang in which the Donor case-ending was "-a", the Theme case-ending was "-u", and the Recipient case-ending was "-e".

(We'll also suppose monotransitive word-order is VAP (VSO) and ditransitive word-order is VDRT.)

Suppose "Frank gave me money" was
gave Frank-a me-e money-u
give.PST Frank-NOM 1sg-DAT money-ACC

Now consider a monotransitive verb like "help".
Suppose
help-ed Frank-a me-u
and
help-ed Frank-e me-u
were both grammatical, but had different meanings.

I don't know of a natlang like that. That would be a Fluid-A natlang.

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OTOH there are several natlangs in which some monotransitive verbs have Nominative Subjects with Accusative Objects, but other monotransitive verbs have Dative Subjects with Accusative Objects. Faroese appears to be one of these.
Mær dámar føroyskan tónleik
I.DAT like.3S Faroese.ACC music.ACC
‘I like Faroese music.’

Tamil seems to be another.

Those would be Split-A natlangs, but not Fluid-A natlangs.

_____________________________________________________________

In many natlangs with dative subjects, the verb is either intransitive, or the object is nominative rather than accusative. That's one reason it's hard to find natlangish examples of Split-A languages; it's much harder to look up "monotransitive verbs with dative subjects and accusative objects" than just "dative subjects", but the latter gives lots of spurious hits.

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In any case, it would be reasonable to assume that in clauses with a dative agent, the agent is more like an experiencer or recipient, and yet the undergoer or patient is still somehow affected.

"Love" might be a good dative-agent accusative-patient verb.
"Find" might be a good dative-agent accusative-patient verb.
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your example looks a heck of a lot like the sample sentences in the Navy DLAB (defense language aptitude battery), if you were to read them in a heavy Russian/Arabic accent. I find that kind of awesome.
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