Hallo! On Wed, 22 Mar 2006 23:28:28 +0100, Benct Philip Jonsson wrote: > I just borrowed a somewhat new book on linguistic > typology > > Author Song, Jae Jung > Title Linguistic typology : morphology and syntax / Jae Jung Song > Publication Harlow : Pearson Education, 2001 > Material Information 406 s. : ill. ; > Series Longman linguistics library, > ISBN 0582312213 (pbk.) : £16.99 > ISBN 0582312205 : £40.00 : CIP entry (Aug.) > > and true to my nature I immediately read the chapter on > case marking. > > In the section about mixed marking systems it says, > that there are languages which have an ergative- > absolutive marking system on NPs and nominative- > accusative marking on verbs while there are none > that have it the other way around (i.e. no language > with nom-acc NPs and erg-abs verbs!), but it doesn't > name any language which has this marking system. I didn't know that, but I have suspected that for quite a while. I don't know about Basque, but I seem to remember that its verb marking is nom-acc. The verb marking of Georgian is nom-acc at any rate. > It also mentions the _Nominal Hierarchy_: > > ^ 1st person, 2nd person > | 3d person > | personal name/kin term > | human > | animate > | inanimate > > In languages with split ergativity categories towards > the top of the hierarchy are most likely to have nominative- > accusative case marking while items towards the bottom > are most likely to have ergative-absolutive case marking. > Again there are no known languages that violate the hierarchy, > i.e. having erg-abs on 1st/2nd person pronouns and nom-acc > on inanimates. Languages differ WRT where in the hierarchy > they draw the border, but they don't wiolate the hierarchy. Yep. > Now this has some implications for my (perpetual) thinking on > the Sohlob case system. In my most recent delineation animate > agents take the ergative case, while inanimate agents take the > instrumental case -- i.e. inanimates are not capable of true > agentness. This makes perfect sense, and is also what I am doing in Old Albic. Inanimate nouns have no agentive case, and in sentences such as 'The stone smashed the window', the "agent" is not a true agent, and marked with the instrumental case. It also doesn't trigger agent agreement on the verb. (As you perhaps already know, Old Albic is fluid-S active.) > This would give me a nice division of labor between > the _-l_ case -- which in slightly different functions > have been present in the precursors of Sohlob since the late > seventies (1) -- and the _-r_ case, the _-l_ case being > ergative and the _-r_ case instrumental. They are supposed > to be historically-phonologically related in that the pre- > Sohlob language had *r_j and *r rather than /l/ and /r/. This makes sense, too. AFAIK, ergative and instrumental cases are often related to each other in ergative languages. > Now imagine combining this with the Nominal Hierarchy, > so that 1st person and 2nd person take nom-acc marking, > inanimates take "instrumental-absolutive" marking and > the categories inbetween take erg-abs marking! Why not? > Of > course both the nominative and the absolutive are to > be "marked" with a zero morph! Yes. In erg-abs systems, the absolutive is usually the case with a zero morph. > Now I wonder if such a doubly complicated case marking > system might be attested in any natlang, or if it is > too weird? Of course I also contemplate combining this > NP marking system with consistent nom-acc marking on the > verb, which is perhaps too unrealistic, It isn't. Georgian, for example, has a split between nom-acc and active case marking on NPs conditioned by the aspect of the verb, and nom-acc marking on the verb. > or perhaps even > with no marking at all on verbs for inanimates but nom-acc > for categories higher in the hierarchy, which potentially > is super-unrealistic... It isn't. In Old Albic, an inanimate "agent" does not trigger agreement marking on the verb at all (as I already said above), and in inanimate patient triggers agreement but not in number - the singular form is used even if the patient is plural. Greetings, Jörg.