gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Tue Jun 24 19:04:38 UTC 2008
So far the discussion has centered around European languages in which
crack cannot be used transitively. What about non-European languages
and/or languages in which it can be so used?
In Indonesian it seems as though "retak" ('crack') can be used
transitively, either bare, or with an applicative/transitivizing
enclitic/suffix. I did a quick Google for "meratakkan" (Standard
Indonesian) and "retakin" (Jakarta Indonesian) and found plenty of
examples with an agentive causative interpretation in which "retak" was
followed by the cracked object. Here's an (albeit non-agentive)
newspaper example, recalling the shaky lead-up to the 2005 ALT meeting
"Gempa 6,7 Scala Richter yang mengguncang Padang pada 10 April 2005 yang
bersumber dari Kepulauan Mentawai *meretakkan* 15 tiang ini ..."
'The 6.7 Richter Scale earthquake which shook Padang on the 10th of
April 2005 and which originated in the Mentawai archipelago cracked 15
house pillars ...'
PS Lots of the Indonesian examples that came up in the search involved
metaphorical usages of 'crack', mostly involving things like 'code'.
Which leads me to wonder: In languages such as German in which father
can't crack the vase, can he crack the code? (Hebrew, which is like
German in this respect, uses a different verb for cracking codes, the
same verb used for cracking and breaking open things like nuts, and it
can behave transitively for both nuts and codes.)
Department of Linguistics
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Email: gil at eva.mpg.de
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