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On Fri, 1 Sep 2017 17:03:13 +0000, Daniel Bowman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Angosey is strict VSO, except for a few verbs that seem to switch it to
>VOS.  A particular one is the verb "to assay."  A few others too.  I'm not
>sure how to explain these idiosyncrasies diachronically.  Suggestions?

OHYTTIOAOA*: what are the diagnostics for subject and object in Angosey?  It's not just that these verbs are VSO but they assign their syntactic relations oppositely to their English translations?

If not, that's tricky.  Two things come to mind.  One, maybe there used to be some sort of quirky case on this set of verbs, with the syntactic object being marked with the case usual to the subject, and then the syntactic relations were analogised to follow the cases but the syntax was left alone -- but is that a thing that actually happens?  Number two is based on that "assay", if you mean 'test the composition of an alloy / ore / etc.', is basically specialist jargon; it's hardly a common term.  So maybe the words that do this are primarily in use among the metalsmiths or some similar group, and they maintain their weird syntax as a sort of ingroup-membership-marking shibboleth of this group?  (E.g. perhaps in a tradition hearkening back to the first use of the word in a manual badly translated from another language where VO was normal?)  Or maybe some combination of both of the above.

Alex

* Ob[ligatory] "have you tried turning it off and on again?"