Sunday, December 10, 2017

Onwards with Detail #363

We may extend the notion presented in a recent post to cover other, maybe more realistic things than explicit cases.

A first idea for this could be strange verbs, that alter properties of the subjects and objects: either the first or subsequent verbs alter the relation of their arguments to the next subject slot. These may be some kinds of 'weirdly' transitive verbs with underlying quirky case rather than explicit quirky case. This would probably be a unique kind of quirky case. On the other hand, some verbs may often be accompanied by reactions from the object (or in a syntactically ergative language, some transitive verbs may be followed by intransitive verbs with the ergative argument of the previous verb being the subject), and this situation may become sufficiently established that it becomes implicit, and thus these verbs would have implicit puissance/compliance.

In a language that marks definiteness on NPs, one could imagine that definiteness leads to puissant ergatives (even if their absolutive 'partners' are definite). On the other hand, a definite accusative with an indefinite nominative might also be a puissant accusative. Conversely, partitiveness and 'strongly indefinite' determiners (any, some, whichever) might lead to compliant absolutives or nominatives.

Furthermore, one can imagine a noun hierarchy where large enough differences lead to puissance/compliance, whereas smaller differences do not. One would imagine, perhaps, that inanimates always are compliant, and maybe first and second person pronouns force all other NPs to be compliant as well.

At the point where this kind of thing operates on resolving gaps, on the binding of reflexive pronouns, etc, we're pretty close to having dissolved the syntactical properties of subjects altogether and made the properties float about more freely.

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