Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Detail #33: Restriction on verb control

In constructions along the lines of:

he tries to sleep
she seems to sleep
he tricked her to sell the stock
she wants to see the movie
what if only object control of the subordinate verb was allowed?

it tries him to sleep
it seems her to sleep
he tricked her to sell the stock
it wants her to see the movie
In such a language, it would make sense for 'seems', 'tries', etc to have somewhat different meanings than in English - tries could easily mean something like 'challenges', seems could also have as subject the person to which it seems to be the case, etc, and a general, 3rd person dummy object would just signal more general situation.


  1. It might be interesting to combine this with an absolutive/ergative alignment. Maybe.

    1. Thanks for the inspiration for this post, btw, as I seem to recall you brought the basic topic up at some point on irc.