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Quoting Henrik Theiling <[log in to unmask]>:

> Hi!
>
> Andreas Johansson <[log in to unmask]> writes:
> > Quoting Trebor Jung <[log in to unmask]>:
> >
> > > Chris írta: "[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 dürstet. (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.

The part I'm not getting is why there absolutely must be a subject in these
sentences. As you say, _es_ in _es regnet_ isn't a real subject; why couldn't
then _mir ist kalt_ not lack a subject entirely? The fact that you can never,
as far as I know, stuff in an extra subject _es_ if a nominative subject is
present would seem to support this view.


                                                Andreas