Hindi instrumental subjects

Ashild Naess A.Naess at LET.KUN.NL
Mon Aug 25 11:35:23 UTC 2003

Dear typologists,

Hindi has a construction with an apparent subject in the instrumental case, 
as illustrated below:

1. bacce se shiishaa TuuT gayaa
     child INST mirror break went
  ‘The child (inadvertently) broke the mirror.’ (Kachru 1990)

2. Ravii-se    Raam-ko   piittaa  nahññ gayaa
Ravi-INST Ram-ACC beat.PERF not go.PERF
‘Ravi couldn't (bring himself to) beat Ram.’ (Mohanan 1994)

My question is simple: Can one get sentences in Hindi such as these where 
the "instrumental subject" is an actual semantic instrument? That is, could 
one say something like "The ball broke the window" with a construction 
parallel to those above, with "the ball" in the instrumental case? If such 
sentences are possible I would greatly appreciate a glossed example.

Thanks in advance,

Åshild Næss

University of Nijmegen
Erasmusplein 1
6525 GG Nijmegen

+31 24 3616028

a.naess at let.kun.nl 
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