Relative clause- case assignment

Jan Terje Faarlund j.t.faarlund at INL.UIO.NO
Tue Mar 13 08:59:19 UTC 2001

At 14:57 12.03.01 +0100, Wolfgang Schulze wrote:

>Given that the head of a relative [participial] construction exerts
>S-function (subjective with an intransitive matrix verb) and the
>participle construction is overtly transitive (Objective is present),
>the head (in S-function) is not marked by the absolutive (as it would be
>expected), but by the ergative, cp.:

Dear colleagues,
A situation very sinmilar to that described by Wolfgang for Udi, is also 
found in Chiapas Zoque (Southern Mexico), which has ergative case marking. 
In the following sentence, the head noun pü'nis 'man' has the ergative case 
suffix, although it has the S function in the matrix clause. It has the A 
function in the relative clause.

         Te' pü'n-is kyud-u-bü-'is te' tüp ka-'u
         the man-ERG 3/ the fruit.ABS die-PERF
         'The man who ate the fruit died'

In a simple sentence the nou would be in the absolutive:

         Te' püt ka-'u
         the man.ABS die-PERF
         'The man died'

Still as in Udi, relative clauses in Zoque are participial constructions, 
the verb carrying the suffix -pü (which is also used for adjectives in 
general). When an A function is relativized, the ergative suffix -'is is 
added to the participle. If the head noun has the P function in the matrix 
and the A function in the relative clause, the verb/participle still 
carries the ergative suffix, but not the head noun.

         Ng-'ispujk-pa'-t te' püt yaj-ka'-u-bü-'is te' tuwi
         1/3-know-IMPERF-ERG:1 the man.ABS CAUS-die-PERF-PRTC-ERG the dog.ABS
         I know the man who killed the dog

This then seems to correspond exactly to the Udi situation. But 
unfortunately I don't have any reliable data on what happens under various 
degrees of transitivity. I may look into that during my next field trip.

All the best,
Jan Terje

Professor Jan Terje Faarlund
Universitetet i Oslo
Institutt for nordistikk og litteraturvitskap
Postboks 1013 Blindern
N-0315 Oslo (Norway)

Tel. (+47) 22 85 69 49 (office)
      (+47) 22 12 39 66 (home)
Fax  (+47) 22 85 71 00

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