D. N. S. Bhat dnsbhat at BGL.VSNL.NET.IN
Sun May 16 09:03:45 UTC 1999

I would like to raise a somwhat different issue concerning the ProDrop -
non ProDrop distinction.

How are we to determine the positon of some of the Salishan languages or
Munda languages (like Mundari and Santali) in this dichotomy or continuum?

The core arguments of these languages, according to some of their
grammarians, are indicated by the personal affixes that occur obligatorily
with the predicate. Other words or complements that occur in the sentences
are only "attributes" of these affixes that either restrict their reference
or provide explanations about them.

That is, we do not have noun phrases occurring as core arguments in these
sentences; instead, we have complements (non-finite forms of predicates)
functioning as modifiers of the personal affixes, which, in their turn,
function as core arguments.

This claim is supported by the fact that the languages do not use any case
markers for denoting the core relations. Distinctions between subject,
direct object and indirect object are indicated by the relative position of
personal affixes in the predicate, or by distinctions among the affixes

Since the use of these affixes in the predicate is obligatory, do we regard
the languages as Non ProDrop?

Alternatively, since the occurrence of complements that provide additional
information about these affixes are non-obligatory, do we regard the
languages as ProDrop?

Would not the choice of the latter claim imply that we are actually forcing
the structure of familiar languages on these? Further, if the complements
mentioned above are similar to the adjectivals of familiar languages, their
non-specification needs to be regarded as similar to the non-specification
of adjectivals in noun phrases rather than that of noun phrases (arguments)

It is interesting that some of the Salishan languages are reported to allow
only one of the complements to be expressed in a given sentence. That is,
if we choose the latter alternative, we have to talk of "obligatory"

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