case etc.

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Tue Oct 27 11:07:56 UTC 1998

Scott DeLancey wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Oct 1998, Elena Maslova wrote:
> > There is a clear example of Locative-to-Accusative in Kolyma
> > Yukaghir (which is still locative in Tundra Yukaghir) and a
> > (diachronically) misterious relation between Accusative, Focus
> > and Instrumental in both languages.
> Given that datives often develop from accusatives, one has to
> ask whether there is clear evidence to show that the form in
> question didn't (or did) pass through a dative stage on its
> way to accusative.

I don't the diachrony of the Yukaghir accusative etc., but Elena's
"misterious relation between accusative [and] focus (...)" doesn't seem
too misterious to me. It is a well-known fact that patients ("objects",
if you want) show a strong correlation with focal referentiality. If we
claim that "normally" the patient in a transtive structure is in focus
(if a constituent focus is present at all), because it contains more or
less "new" information, then a focal function of the accusative would
not be suprising. E.g., in Udi (East Caucasian) focusing the patient
(via agreement clitics) seems to be the standard (or unmarked) way of
constituent focusing (Alice Harris currently prepares a comprehensive
study on focus in Udi).

The grammaticalization of accusatives do not necessarily involve a
"dative stage", I think. All depends from which functional domain is
covered by the "accusative": If, for instance, the accusative is
splitted according to DOM ("differentiate object marking" (Bossong) just
as in Turkish, Persian, Old Armenian and so many more languages (and
Udi, sorry to refer to my "favorite" language again)), then sources
others then datives may become relevant (e.g., "true" locatives,
partitives, deictic elements etc.). The only condition is that they meet
the functional (or semantic) prerequisites of DOM. E.g., an allative can
become a marked variant of the accusative because it establishs a notion
of "distant relationship" towards the participant in the "effect" domain
(that is, it signals a lower degree of effectedness or "effectability";
some kind of social deixis, I think - the same seems to be true for
genitive/partitive DOM type). Contrary to that for instance an illative
(container or not) tends to strengthen the degree of effectedness
(resulting in another kind of DOM).
	As for the dative-accusative problem also remember that sometimes it is
hard to tell whether a given language really "has" these two distinct
categories. I briefly want to mention the Georgian (South Caucasian)
case: There is a (general) morpheme /-s/ that covers both of what we
would TRANSLATE with the help of a dative and an accusative.
Historically, /-s/ probably was some kind of obliquus that appeared as a
patient marker with antipassives (Georgian has an ergative split
(accusative in the "present" tenses, ergative in the "aorist" tenses).
It is a well-known assumption that Georgian antipassives had been
reanalyzed as "accusative" structures (cp. /k'ac-ma c'erili da-c'er-a/
(man-ERG letter.ABS PV-write.AOR-3Sg.AOR) "the man has written the
letter" vs. /k'aci c'eril-s c'er-s/ (man.ABS letter-"OBL"
write.PRES-3Sg.PRES) "the man writes the letter". Consequently, the
/-s/-case appears as both an "accusatives" and as a standard "dative"
(addressee). The point is that we cannot tell what the "original"
function of /-s/ has been (the use of /-s/ with the so-called
"inversion" (perfective/stative) (/kac'-s c'erili da-uc'er-ia/ (man-DAT
letter.ABS PV-3.Sg.OBL-write-3Sg.ABS) "the man has written a letter")
does not help because the dative may be a secondary function here, too).
Consequently, we cannot (at least on a cursory level of argumentation)
say whether the primary functin of /-s/ in Georgian was a dative further
grammaticalized towards an accusative or whether it had been some kind
of obliquus stemming from a yet (to me) unknown source that developed
towards a dative/accusative cluster.


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang SCHULZE
Institut für Allgemeine und Indogermanische
Sprachwissenschaft * Universität München
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1 * D-80539 München
Tel.: +89-2180 2486

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