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2011/7/26 David McCann <[log in to unmask]>

> On Tue, 26 Jul 2011 14:11:06 +0200
> Njenfalgar <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > Does anyone know of natlang precedents where a Japanese-style topic
> > suffix over time turns into something else? The reason I'm asking is
> > that ancient Troilgulm has exactly such a topic marker, and I would
> > like to somehow get rid of it, possibly recycling it as something
> > else. It kind of seems logical to me to turn it into a nominative
> > ending, as topic and subject often coincide, but knowing of no
> > natlang examples at all I don't have the faintest idea of how
> > plausible that is.
>
> I don't know of any example, but that's not surprising: there aren't
> many languages that use topic marking and few languages where we know
> the history of case suffixes. It seems plausible. Postpositions can
> become case endings, while enclitic definite articles have become gender
> suffixes in the Gur languages and a noun indentifier in East Aramaic.
>
> Nominatives and absolutives are generally unmarked, so I'd have thought
> it more likely that the topic marker would become an ergative suffix.
> If it became a nominative, you could have an accusative suffix derived
> from a postposition meaning 'at' or 'to'.
>

Okay, the "there aren't many languages that use topic marking" part was kind
of what I was fearing for.

I will have accusative marking, of course. And it will be different
depending on whether the word is animate or not etc. etc. I have plenty of
cruelties planned for the unexpecting learner... :-)

-- 
Ci'Ówara pi-y˛qara-nihao.

http://njenfalgar.conlang.org/ <http://njenfalgar.4shared.com/>