flip-flop predicates

stassen l.stassen at LET.KUN.NL
Mon Apr 24 14:14:08 UTC 2000

David Tuggy calls attention to (relational) predicates for which the
argument structure seems to have been reversed. Here's an example of a
(non-relational) predicate in Dutch. The verb "mankeren" (a loan from the
French "manquer") means more or less "to ail". It used to be the case that
the ailment was the subject and the afflicted person the direct object, as in:

    Wat mankeer-t jou?
    What ail-3SG.PRES 2SG.OBL
    "What is ailing you?"

Nowadays, however, the situation is reversed, n that the "ailee" is the
subject, as is indicated by its nominative case, and by the fact that the
verb has agreement with it:

   Wat mankeer-0 jij?
   what ail-2SG.PRES 2SG.NOM

Just thought I'd mention it.


Leon Stassen.

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