[Lingtyp] Syncretism between forms encoding source and agent
gil at shh.mpg.de
Sat Jul 21 06:26:14 EDT 2018
I was careful in my response to specify that I was talking abut the
Kirinda dialect of Sri Lankan Malay, because, in my notes, I do see that
you had once provided me with different data from the Kandy dialect.
My citation of agent-marking /dari/ in Kirinda (where it actually
surfaces as a postposition /(de)ring/) is based on my own fieldwork
there, subsequently corroborated by Peter Slomanson, who has been
working there for years.
Since the use of /dari/ to mark agents is widespread in those eastern
Malay varieties on which Sri Lankan Malay is based, I would suspect that
— contrary to your suggestion — its occurrence in Kirinda is a
retention, and its (near-)loss in Kandy an innovation.
On 21/07/2018 13:17, Sebastian Nordhoff wrote:
> On 07/21/2018 11:47 AM, David Gil wrote:
>> More specifically, the use of /dari/ to mark agents is characteristic of
>> Eastern contact varieties of Malay; I have heard it in, among other
>> places, Papua, Halmahera, Ambon, Maluku Tenggara and Timor. And it is
>> also attested in the Kirinda subdialect of Sri Lankan Malay.
> The use of the ablative for agents in Sri Lanka Malay is normally
> restricted to "institutional agents", like government, the police, a
> board etc. This is a calque from the same use of the ablative in
> Sinhala. I can provide references if required.
> (It might be the case that in Kirinda, this has generalized further.)
> Interestingly, the set of agents which take ablative marking in
> Sinhalese and Sri Lanka Malay (institutional actors) seems to be
> identical to the set where British English permits plural agreement
> ("The government have ...") and where Dutch uses feminine pronouns even
> for neuter referents ("Het kabinet heeft haar kabinetsplannen
> gepresenteerd", 'The(neuter) cabinet presented HER plans').
> So [±institutional actor] is signaled by strategies involving case,
> number, and gender in four different languages.
> I have always wondered how a historically comparatively recent concept
> like [institutional] can grammaticalize at all. I would not expect there
> to be any cognitive disposition for this.
> Best wishes
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
Email: gil at shh.mpg.de
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