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Hi!

Andreas Johansson <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> Quoting Trebor Jung <[log in to unmask]>:
>
> > Chris rta: "[Why] don't we say AVP instead of SVO etc?"
> >
> > The terms "subject" and "object" deal with syntactic roles. OTOH, "agent"
> > and "patient" deal with argument roles. The terms are not interchangeable,
> > since in many Western languages at least, subjects can be agents, patients,
> > or experiencers (even tho they're marked with different cases-- but that's a
> > different story altogether!).
>
> What Western languages can mark subjects with different cases?
>
> Basque, of course, and German if you interpret the dative as a subject in
> sentences like _Mir ist kalt_ - that seems perverse to me, but a sufficient
> proportion of books do it that I guess there's some tolerably good reason to do
> it -, anything else?

Icelandic has a lot more of the 'Mir ist kalt.' style dative subjects
and even some accusative ones.  Sometimes those sentences are archaic
in German, sometimes they are totally ungrammatical when translated
literally.

IS: Mig thyrsta.
    ACC

DE: Mich drstet. (archaic)
    ACC
    Ich habe Durst.

EN: *Me thirsts.
    I am thirsty.

Another example from
http://www.stolaf.edu/depts/cis/wp/hoyt/GrammaticalSubject.htm:

IS: Hana vanta peninga.
    ACC        ACC
DE: Mir fehlt  Geld.
    DAT        ACC.
EN: I   lack   money.
    NOM

And the problem with not analysing 'mir' as a subject here is that
there is no other subject that is left out or something.  It is
impossible to add a nominative NP to those sentences, unless it is the
null-pronoun 'es' used for valence-0 sentences like 'Es ist kalt.', so
you could say 'Es ist mir kalt.'/'Mir ist es kalt.'  But that's no
subject, it cannot be gapped:

    *Mir ist es kalt und regnet.
     Mir ist es kalt, und es regnet.

This type of 'es' is purely syntactic.

Therefore I think it's at least pragmatic to say that 'mir' is the
subject.  Further, the above site gives an example where a
non-nominative subject can be deleted in Icelandic:

IS: g    s  stlkuna     og  (mr)       lkai vel  vi  hana. (Icelandic)
    I:NOM saw the.girl:ACC and (me:DATIVE) liked  well with her
    I saw the girl and (I) liked her.

Although I'd translate 'vi' more like 'to'/'towards' ('with' is
'me').  But I'm not at all an expert on Icelandic.

Let's try this for German:

DE: Ich sah das Mdchen, und sie gefllt [mir] gut.

       This is correct, but it is a bit strange.  Most importantly,
       there is no gap in that sentence without the [mir], but
       instead, the sentence is more general about the worlds and not
       about my feelings, and then pragmatically, it is clear that it
       is still about my feelings.

       No, this is not a good example.

     Er ist arm, und ihm fehlt Geld.
    *Er ist arm und fehlt Geld.

       No.

     Ich zittre, und mir ist kalt.
    *Ich zittre und ist kalt.

       No.

I think this is not possible in German, but maybe I simply lack the
right examples.

**Henrik