case etc.

Elena Maslova Lena at LH.BICOS.DE
Tue Oct 27 19:17:07 UTC 1998

At 12:07 10/27/98 +0100, Wolfgang Schulze wrote:
> > On Fri, 23 Oct 1998, Elena Maslova wrote:
> >
> > > There is a clear example of Locative-to-Accusative in
> > > Yukaghir (which is still locative in Tundra Yukaghir) and a
> > > (diachronically) misterious relation between Accusative,
> > > and Instrumental in both languages.
> >
> I don't the diachrony of the Yukaghir accusative etc., but
> "misterious relation between accusative [and] focus (...)"
doesn't seem
> too misterious to me. It is a well-known fact that patients
> 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
> not be suprising.

What I find misterious is not the affinity between Accusative and
Focus; such affinities are indeed well-known. What is misterious
for me is the existing distribution of Accusative, Instrumental
and Focus (Predicative) meanings between two forms of two
Yukaghir languages. It looks like this:

               Tundra                    Kolyma
+FOCUS          -le(ng)                  -lek
Object, -FOC    -le(ng)                  -le
Instrument      -lek                     -le

Thus, the form in -lek is used for Instrument in one language,
and for Focus in the other, i.e. exactly for functions which are
not combined in either of them. I have no reasonable explanation
for this distribution.

Elena Maslova
University of Bielefeld
mailto:lena at

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