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Any or none of those suggestions may work for Anthony, but what about his
final question:   How do ergative and mixed-ergative animacy-sensitive
languages handle personified abstractions?

stevo

On Sat, Jul 14, 2012 at 6:07 PM, Sam Stutter <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Could you just fudge it with a verb which doesn't require an animate noun,
> like "death cannot cease", or reverse it with the passive "death cannot be
> killed"? Or could you just plain switch it around as "no one can kill
> death", or invent an animate noun to stand-in for the inanimate one: "The
> Angel of Death cannot be killed"? Granted, that's a little disconnected
> from the original statement of "*death* cannot be ended", and none of the
> suggestions are directly translated, but that's my tuppence's worth :)
>
> Sam Stutter
> [log in to unmask]
> "No e na'l cu barri"
>
> On 14 Jul 2012, at 22:56, Anthony Miles <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> > Translation problem:
> > In the Wisdom of Solomon translation into Siye, there is a phrase “Death
> cannot die”. I initially translated this as
> > "like ilipuyamnumu"
> > Like-0 i-li-pu-yam-nu-me-u
> > death-ABS 3AN-die.IMPFV-ABILITATIVE-DIR.DOWN-IMPFV-NEG
> >
> > Death is an inanimate noun, and therefore should not be able to govern
> an intransitive verb such as 'to die' nor the the 3rd person animate prefix
> /i-/. Death is personified here (abstracts are not items to which mortality
> applies), so it is possible that the zero-marking of /like/ indicates the
> nominative case. I am still uncomfortable, however, with this: promoting
> abstracts, the bottom of the animacy hierarchy, seems strange, and although
> Siye's neighbor Ulok (or the Ulok-influences Far Western dialect of Siye)
> would be perfectly happy with this construction, it still triggers my
> anglo-relexophobia. How do ergative and mixed-ergative animacy-sensitive
> languages handle personified abstractions?
>