Alternation between two overt markers on direct objects

Colin Masica dacotah at MWT.NET
Thu Dec 1 18:14:34 UTC 2011

Dear Giorgio, Gideon, Maria, and Silvia,

I published a paper on a related topic, in slightly different  
versions, back in the '80s -- unfortunately in obscure places:

Masica 1982a. "Another Indo-Altaic feature: identified object  
marking," in Proceedings of the 30th International Cpngress {of Human  
Sciences in Asia and Africa 1976], ed. Graciela de la Lama, 194-223.  
Mexico City, Colegio de Mexico.

Masica 1982b. "Identified object marking in Hindi and other  
languages. Topics in Hindi Linguistics, vol. 2. ed. O.N. Koul, pp.  
15-50 New Delhi: Bahri Publications.

Summarized again in Masica 2001, "The definition and significance of  
linguistic areas: methods, pitfalls, and possibilities (with special  
reference to South Asia as a linguistic area). In The Yearbook of  
South Asian Languages and LInguistics, 2001. Ed. Rajendra Singh, pp.  
205-267. New Delhi: Sage Publications. Ssction 4.2.2."Another Indo- 
Turanian feature: definite object marking", pp. 243-246; Figure 8 , p. 
244. (Despite the titles, imposed by the venues, I was interested in  
this phenomenon outside South Asia as well -- e.g. in Spanish,  
Hebrew, Romanian, Amharic, and definitely in Turkic, which seemed to  
be a kind of epicenter of this phenomenon. On the other hand, despite  
its areal aspects, maybe it s potential in general typology, liable  
to crop up anywhere without necessarily being areally influened?)

There was an aborted attempt by Deccan Chronicle Publications to  
publish my scattered Collected Papers a few years ago, but they  
thought better of it: no market"...

But perhaps all this falls under Maria's caveat: although it deals  
with differential object marking (in this case with a function), it  
does not focus on two or more overt case markers, but primarily with  
the presence or absence of a marker. (Can the differential case- 
marking in Russian, Polish, Finnish, etc. be said to have a  
"function"? Or more vaguely, a "meaning"?)

This quest does raise the question, however, of what is a direct  
object? Is a non-Accusative object (e.g., Genitive, Instrumental,  
etc.) really a direct object? Or some other kind of "complement"? And  
if we are going to talk about quasi-obligatory "complements", what is  
the difference between the marking of these with various synthetic  
"cases" and the their marking with various postpositions (as in Hindi  
and other South Asian languages) or prepositions?

(I was primarily interested in the non-random geographic distribution  
of such phenomena. But I see that they pose more general theoretical  
problems too.)

Best wishes to all of you,

Colin P. Masica

On Dec 1, 2011, at 2:01 AM, Silvia Luraghi wrote:

> Yes Gideon, but they always only mention tje same few languages  
> (those also mentioned by Giorgio), he's asking if anyone can give  
> him data from OTHER languages!
> Silvia
> At 22.01 30/11/2011, Gideon Goldenberg wrote:
>> Cross-linguistic studies of Differential Object Marking did not  
>> fail to refer to the relevant constructions e.g. in Finnish or  
>> Russian.
>> On 30 Nov 2011, at 9:29, Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm wrote:
>>> Gideon,
>>> Giorgio is asking specifically about the alternation between two  
>>> or more overt case markers, not about any differential object  
>>> marking. While the latter is common, the former seems to be quite  
>>> rare.
>>> Best,
>>> Maria
>>> On 2011-11-30 20.15, Gideon Goldenberg wrote:
>>>> About this phenomenon of ‘differential object marking’ cross- 
>>>> linguistically you may see, to begin with,
>>>> Gideon.
>>>> On 30 Nov 2011, at 6:29, Giorgio Iemmolo wrote:
>>>>> Dear all,
>>>>> I am writing to inquire whether anyone on this list is aware of  
>>>>> languages where direct objects exhibit an alternation between  
>>>>> two (or more) overt case markers.
>>>>> Examples of such languages are Finnic languages (Finnish,  
>>>>> Estonian, Karelian, etc.) quite a few Indo-European languages  
>>>>> (Russian, Polish, Ancient Greek, Vedic, etc.), and a few  
>>>>> Polynesian languages (Samoan, Tongan, etc.), where there is an  
>>>>> alternation i) between accusative and partitive/genitive or ii)  
>>>>> between two overt markers, depending on a variety of factors,  
>>>>> such as event (un)boundedness, polarity, affectedness,  
>>>>> quantification.
>>>>> My general impression is that such an alternation in direct  
>>>>> object encoding is fairly rare cross-linguistically. So if  
>>>>> anybody is familiar with examples of languages where this  
>>>>> pattern is found and is not limited to just a handful of verbs,  
>>>>> please let me know. I would be very grateful.
>>>>> Thank you very much in advance,
>>>>> Giorgio Iemmolo
>>> -- 
>>> Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm
>>> Office: Dept. of linguistics, Stockholm university, 106 91,  
>>> Stockholm,
>>> Sweden
>>> Home: Västerled 166, 167 72, Bromma, Sweden
>>> tamm at,
>>> tel.: +46-8-16 26 20 (office), +46-8-26 90 91
>>> (home)
> Silvia Luraghi
> Dipartimento di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata
> Università di Pavia
> Strada Nuova 65
> I-27100 Pavia
> telef.: +39-0382-984685
> fax: +39-0382-984487
> silvia.luraghi at

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