[Lingtyp] ‘Ostensive’ use of a goal case

zemp marius zemp.marius at gmail.com
Tue Mar 1 08:32:07 UTC 2022

Dear Riccardo, dear others,

thanks for your valuable input. It allows me to specify what I’m interested
in <#_msocom_1>. In the Written Tibetan examples presented in my previous
email, as well as in the following example from modern Central Tibetan,

*sem     kjo-wa-laa*

mind   sad-nlzr-ost

‘How sad!’

-*la(a)* points to a clear manifestation or a great example of the property
denoted by the nominalized verb.

Which is why I think ‘ostensive’ might be a good label – While in ostensive
definitions, one defines something by pointing to a good example, Tibetan -
*la* points to a good or even great example of what one is talking about.

What distinguishes the ‘ostensive’ use of Tibetan -*la* from most of the
uses of goal cases you mentioned is that this -*la* here could be analyzed
as finite, as it completes a sentence. While pointing to a state of affairs
exemplifying the property denoted by the nominalized verb, -*la* also
implies that this state of affairs currently applies, or is at least
currently experienced.

Come to think of it, you could also analyze this use of the Tibetan goal
case as an instance of insubordination. For instance, you could assume that
someone using it in this way actually means ‘look at (the property denoted
by the nominalized verb)!’ However, even if we can think of such a matrix
sentence <#_msocom_3> (‘look at [VN-*la*]!’, or perhaps also ‘feel [VN-*la*]!’
or ‘consider [VN-*la*]!’) as being elided here, I would not assume that the
meaning of the ostensive construction *equals* that facilitated by any of
these matrix sentences.

In short, I’m actually looking for cross-linguistic parallels for the
*finite* or *predicative* use of a goal case.


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