Tagalog nang

potet POTETJP at wanadoo.fr
Thu Jul 26 00:18:10 UTC 2001

Dear Resty,

I'll try an answer by mainly dealing with two points from your message

"The difference, if I get it right, is that the two phrases [nang magsasaka]
and [nang pakwan] belong to different cases.  I'm not sure how 'case' is
used in this context. In the sense of 'deep case', meaning the semantic role
of the participant, there is no doubt that the two phrases, despite sharing
the same marker, belong to different cases. So I take it case here refers to
the traditional morphological or grammatical case. (Please stop me at this
point if I misinterpret." Resty CENA

By "case" I mean the same as in Western languages. In Tagalog, the case of a
given NP is hidden by its function at the level of the focus structure. In
other words where we have two levels for a language like English: the
semantic level and the syntactic level, I found it necessary to consider
that Tagalog has 3 levels: the semantic level, the syntactic level and the
focus level (I borrow the concept of focus from the SIL). As a consequence
case is hidden, unmarked, but still plays a part so that, as I said _nang X_
is replaceable by _sa X-ng_ whereas _nang Y_ is not replaceable by _*sa
Y-ng_.  I know this three-level system will sound strange to most people,
but such is my contention.

"If what we're saying here is that the 'case' of [mo] in [ani mo] and the
case of [mo] in [tuparin mo] are different, in one sense this is not in
question (the first is genitive and the second is nominative), and in
another sense, aren't we merely re-stating the same problem, that is to say,
why the genitive mo allows reduction but not the nominative mo? (To which my
explanation is that the nominative requires a verb head but the genitive
requires a noun head -- am I also offering here a re-statement rather than
an explanation?)" Resty CENA

In the sentences under consideration, _mó_ in _áni mó_ is in the same case
as _mó_ in  _tuparín mó_ .
Since the Reverend Father Francisco Blancas DE SAN JOSEPH published his
_Arte y regla(s) de la lengua tagala_ in 1610, it has been customary to say
that _nang X_, _mo_ etc. are in the genitive, and that the verb in in one of
the several passive voices. These are practical suggestions that must have
been very helpful to his young colleagues learning Tagalog, and trying to
write sermons in this marvellous language, but I'm afraid I do not think
they are true.
If we consider the example _báhay nang magsasaká_ , don't you have the
impression it is closer to _(the) house of (the) farmer_ than to _(the)
farmer's house_? If so, _magsasaká_ cannot be in the genitive but in another
case. Now what cases are governed by "of"? In English it is the oblique case
("of him", disregarding the double possessive "of his").  The case depends
on the resources of the languages and varies. If we adopt a bird's eyeview,
we may content ourselves by saying _magsasaká_ is in the universal case
governed by "of".
Now in so far as the same nominal phrase, _nang magsasaká_,  is used as the
non-focus subject of
Itinaním nang magsasaká ang pakwán. "The farmer has planted (the) melon."
we cannot say that _nang_ is the equivalent of "of". It must needs be
something else. At this stage it seems to be a preposition.

"So my problem is this: Granted that an agent NP can change its case from
nominative to genitive and that a patient NP may not do so while holding the
verb head constant, how is this an argument against the analysis of (1-2) as
underlyingly (3-4) and in favor of (5-6)? I don't see the connection at this
point. " Resty CENA

>>From what I said above, I suppose you see why for me the agent did not
change its case from the nominative to the genitive. If it was in the
nominative, it is still in the nominative. Actually I don't know in what
case it is. This will require more research. All I know is that it was
in-focus in the nagtaním sentence and non-focus in the itinaním one. We may
consider these as focus cases, not to be confused with the cases of the
level below (nominative, accusative etc).
On the other hand, if you replace the verbal bases by their corresponding
gerunds :  "Taním mó, áni mó."  > "Pagtataním mó, pag-áni mó.", do you
obtain a sentence? To me, the result is not a sentence, but I could be
wrong. Conversely, if you replace the bases by conjugated verbal forms, you
do obtain a parataxic sentence, don't you? : "Itinaním mó, áaníhin mó.".
Besides, you cannot give the conjugated verbal forms any aspect/tense you
fancy. The sentences requires the aspects/tenses I used. All this leads me
to conclude that the verbal forms have been reduced to their bases, while
all the informations carried by their affixes have become virtual, without
being eliminated.

I hope I didn't muddle the issue.


Jean-Paul G. POTET

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