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At 19:49 -0400 on 20.10.1998, Sally Caves wrote:

[snip]
> Matt:
> > This isn't exactly an ergative construction, but rather a (probably)
> > related construction called the "experiencer dative".  Other languages
> > that have experiencer dative subjects include German, Icelandic, Korean,
> > Georgian, and my conlang Tokana

[snip]

> Okay, so this clears up a question I asked you some time ago... I didn't
> have the right term for it, only noting that what you did with Tokana
> seemed similar to what the Old English do:  could the impersonal verb in
> Old and Middle English fall into the category of "experiencer dative
> construction"?  What is the history of this construction?
>
> Me thinketh hit gedwolsum swa to donne...
>
> To me seems it burdensome so to do...  (giving us our "methinks"
> formula)... likewise with
>
>         me reweth  (to me [it] pains/gives me sorry) ie. I pity
>         me listeth (to me [it] pleases) i.e. I like
>         etc.
>

Certainly.  Old Scandinavian had the same thing with the same verbs, and
Icelandic still has it.  There are some verbs that take "accusative
subjects" too, e.g. _mig dreymdi_ "I dreamt".  Note that there is no "dummy
subject", i.e. not **thad dreymdi mig**.  There are also some verbs that
are used in experiencer dative constructions in addition to normal nom-acc
uses, e.g. _mjer tekur aa bakid/haus/..._ "My back/head/... hurts" (lit.
"it takes at my back/head/...".)  Who said cases were only good for
redundancy? ;)

/BP


B.Philip. Jonsson <[log in to unmask]>

Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant (Tacitus)
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