Fwd: Volitional patients

Bernard Comrie comrie at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Mar 22 17:50:52 UTC 2006

Dear Åshild:

Possibly relevant to your question is the 
phenomenon in many languages whereby causative 
constructions differ, typically in the 
case-marking of the causee, depending on the 
degree of volitionality of the causee.


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>Date:         Wed, 22 Mar 2006 13:17:30 +0100
>Reply-To: ashild.nass at ILN.UIO.NO
>From: Ashild Nass <ashild.nass at ILN.UIO.NO>
>Organization: UiO
>Subject: Volitional patients
>Dear colleagues,
>I'm wondering if anyone has information on 
>languages where a patient arugment which is 
>somehow volitionally involved in the event which 
>affects it (e.g. 'letting' something happen to 
>it) is marked differently from a regular 
>nonvolitional patient. There are examples of 
>this from Icelandic (examples from Barddal 2001):
>1. Hann klóraDi mig        2. Hann klóraDi mér
>    he.NOM scratched me.ACC       he.NOM scratched me.DAT
>(D here used for the voiced dental approximant)
>Both of these translate into English as 'he 
>scratched me'; the difference is that in 1) the 
>scratching is an act of violence, where as in 2) 
>it refers to scratching in order to relieve an 
>itch; in other words, the dative-marked 
>participant in 2) voluntarily submits to the 
>scratching, whereas the accusative-marked 
>participant in 1) is a hapless victim.
>Does anyone know of other languages that show 
>similar patterns? The distinction wouldn't 
>necessarily have to be in the case-marking of 
>the object, any formal distinction on this basis 
>is of interest.
>Thanks in advance,
>Åshild Næss
>Åshild Næss
>Postdoctoral researcher
>Dept. of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies
>University of Oslo
>P.O. Box 1102 Blindern
>0317 Oslo, Norway
>Phone: (+47) 22 84 40 06
>Office: HW327

[I am based in Santa Barbara through 2006 mid-March.
>From  2006 late March I will be based in Leipzig]

Prof. Dr. Bernard Comrie
Director, Department of Linguistics, Max Planck 
Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of California Santa Barbara

E-mail: comrie at eva.mpg.de
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