OV to VO und Verwandtes (encore)

Wed May 27 11:18:20 UTC 1998

Sorry for cluttering your mailboxes with yet another
message on duals.  But when rereading Frans' message
I did manage to find something I disagreed with.

Frans wrote:

> Can dual therefore be considered 'evolutionarily prior',
> even a remnant of 'proto-world'?

> Still, the diversity of extant dual FORMS, pointing to
> independent innovations of duals, couldn't suggest more
> forecefully that this would be the entirely wrong conclusion
> to draw.

>From Frans' two implicantia, I would indeed conclude something
about evolution, namely the following:  that X thousand years
ago, the dual category was, synchronically, less highly marked
than the dual category is today.

The above conclusion is about a particular abstract grammatical
category in the respective Universal Grammars of X thousand
years ago and the present.  It does not relate in any way to
"proto-world" and the mono- / poly-genesis debate.  And
more importantly, it does not say anything about how particular
languages, then or now, went about satisfying their greater
or lesser "needs" (as dictated by markedness) for a dual by
innovating dual forms from various sources.  So to me, it
still seems that the two implicantia do indeed tell us that
duals were more highly favoured in antiquity.

Whatever the implications of that are.

David Gil

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