passive and locative

Seth Jerchower sejerchower at JTSA.EDU
Tue May 5 15:52:50 UTC 1998

In Italian there is the preposition "da" (from Latin DE AB):

Passive phrase (agent marker):
1.        Il cane è stato lavato da Gianni. (The dog was washed by Gianni.).

As a locative:
2a.        Andiamo a giocare a carte da Mario (We're going to play cards at
2b.        Trattoria "da Maso" ("Maso's Eatery"; typical "homestyle" name
for a small restaurant).

Verb (infinitive), indicating purpose:
3a.        Questo film è proprio da vedere.  (This movie's a must-see).
3b.        La mia ragazza è da amare. (My girlfriend is loveable; cf. Latin
gerund "amanda").
3c.        Hai da fare?  (Are you busy?).

The preposition is the equivalent to Latin DE and AB, and in early literary
Italian, as well as in Italo-Romance varieties, the preposition "de" is
used/continued, rather than "da"; both are found in surnames which are
formed with toponyms, such as "Jacopone da Todi", "Leone di Modena".  In
it's widest usage, however, Latin "de" is continued not as a
locative/ablative marker, but evolves into the genitive marker.
-----Original Message-----
From: DAVID GIL <dgil at UDEL.EDU>
Date: Monday, May 04, 1998 1:45 PM
Subject: passive and locative

>Is anybody familiar with examples of languages with identical
>morphosyntactic markings for the following two grammatical
>categories: (a) passive, or patient orientation, on verbs;
>and (b) locative, on nouns?
>One well-known example is Malay / Indonesian, with _di_
>for both.  (Prescriptivist grammarians distinguish between
>the "two _di_'s" orthographically: the former is joined on
>to the following verb while the latter is written as a
>separate word.  However, Malays and Indonesians find it very
>difficult to keep them apart when writing, and make frequent
>errors -- suggesting that the distinction may not be
>psychologicaly real for them.)
>I am proposing a unified analysis encompassing both usages;
>what I am looking for is cross-linguistic support for the
>analysis, in the form of other languages in which the two
>categories coalesce.
>David Gil
>Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
>dgil at

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