Primary object languages & pronouns

Dan Everett dan.everett at MAN.AC.UK
Wed Apr 23 14:33:46 UTC 2003

>> Folks,
>> Wari', Amazonian, shows agreement and syntax typical of what Dryer
>> (1986) has treated as obligatorily anti-dative or Van Valin & La
>> Polla (1997, 270ff) treat as a 'primary-object pattern'. That is, in
>> simple transitive clauses the AGENT and PATIENT both trigger
>> agreement on the verb. In di-transitive clauses, however, it is the
>> RECIPIENT/GOAL which triggers/governs agreement on the verb. The
>> PATIENT argument in these clauses appears as the object of a
>> preposition (Wari' is V-IO-O-S). Pronouns in Wari' may not bear the
>> RECIPIENT role. My question is this: Are there other languages like
>> this? Some hypothetical examples of what I mean are:
>> (1) a. I hit him.
>>      b. Bill hit me.
>>      c. Mary saw you.
>> In 1a-c, the verb would agree in Wari' with both subject/agent and
>> object/patient, regardless of whether these are NPs or pronouns -
>> they may also be zero, but the verb will still show agreement.
>> (2) a. I gave Mary of the book. (I gave the book to Mary) - VERB
>> agrees with 'Mary' and 'I'.
>>      b. *I gave her of the book. (Even though the verb agreement will
>> be for 1 person singular and 3 singular feminine)
>> Again, does anyone know of other languages with this pattern?
>> -- Dan

Daniel L. Everett
Professor of Phonetics and Phonology
Department of Linguistics
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK
M13 9PL
Phone: 44-161-275-3158
Department Fax: 44-161-275-3187
'Speech is the best show man puts on' - Whorf

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