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NATLANG: Nominatives in Southern Sierra Miwok

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  • Anthony Miles
    I was browsing Wikipedia for interesting case structures, and I come across Southern Sierra Miwok, a language spoken by Native Americans in California.
    Message 1 of 3 , May 14, 2013
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      I was browsing Wikipedia for interesting case structures, and I come across Southern Sierra Miwok, a language spoken by Native Americans in California.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Sierra_Miwok_language

      Southern Sierra Miwok has nine cases, divided into three groups: autonomous, subordinate, and possessive. Autonomous case suffixes are the last suffix on a word. Subordinate case suffixes must be followed by an autonomous case suffix. The possessive has two allomorphs, one autonomous, one subordinate.

      The autonomous case suffixes are Nominative, Accusative, Temporal, and Vocative.

      Nominative is used for the subject of the sentence, forms modifying the subject of a sentence (I guess 'adjective' is not a formal category in SSM), citation forms, predicative and coordinative constructions, and as the autonomous case when a subordinate case suffix is used.

      Accusative is used for the direct object, the indirect object in a ditransitive sentence (the example under Instrumental suggests a benefactive flavor), and an accusative of duration.

      Temporal is used with time words, location in time or space, although more broadly than an English speaker would expect, venturing into adverbial territory.

      The Vocative is used with terms of address.

      The subordinate case suffixes are Ablative, Allative, Locative, and Instrumental.

      Ablative is used for motion away from. The Ablative is followed by the Nominative, possibily the Accusative, and occassionally a specific prefinal suffix.

      Allative is used for motion towards, nearness, and locative functions. The Allative is followed by the Nominative, possibly the Accusative.

      Locative is used for locative functions (duplicating some functions of the Allative). The Locative is followed by the Nominative, sometimes a nominal suffix, and rarely a diminutive.

      Instrumental is used for instrumental (and comitative? "with" in the sentence is ambigious) functions and for the direct object in a ditransitive construction. (If someone remembers the name of this construction, please tell me!)

      Genitive can be autonomous or subordinate. If it is subordinate, it can be followed by Nominative or Accusative.

      IIUC This scheme allows all "nouns" outside of the Vocative and Temporal to be marked as Nominative or Accusative, which actually simplifies the syntax of the clause.I do, however, have some questions: firstly, has anyone seen this system of subordinate and autonomous case marking outside North America? Or even elsewhere in North America? Secondly, one of the allomorphs of the Nominative Case is 0. This in itself is not surprising. Due to the autonomous/subordinate system, in certain circumstances the Nominative allomorph following a subordinate case suffix is 0. How does one determine that the Nominative allomorph is there at all under such circumstances?
    • Tim Smith
      ... In languages with this type of ditransitive alignment, the direct object of a monotransitive verb or the indirect object of a ditransitive verb is called
      Message 2 of 3 , May 14, 2013
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        On 5/14/2013 10:31 AM, Anthony Miles wrote:
        > I was browsing Wikipedia for interesting case structures, and I come across Southern Sierra Miwok, a language spoken by Native Americans in California.
        >
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Sierra_Miwok_language
        >
        > Southern Sierra Miwok has nine cases, divided into three groups: autonomous, subordinate, and possessive. Autonomous case suffixes are the last suffix on a word. Subordinate case suffixes must be followed by an autonomous case suffix. The possessive has two allomorphs, one autonomous, one subordinate.
        >
        > The autonomous case suffixes are Nominative, Accusative, Temporal, and Vocative.
        >
        > Nominative is used for the subject of the sentence, forms modifying the subject of a sentence (I guess 'adjective' is not a formal category in SSM), citation forms, predicative and coordinative constructions, and as the autonomous case when a subordinate case suffix is used.
        >
        > Accusative is used for the direct object, the indirect object in a ditransitive sentence (the example under Instrumental suggests a benefactive flavor), and an accusative of duration.
        >
        > Temporal is used with time words, location in time or space, although more broadly than an English speaker would expect, venturing into adverbial territory.
        >
        > The Vocative is used with terms of address.
        >
        > The subordinate case suffixes are Ablative, Allative, Locative, and Instrumental.
        >
        > Ablative is used for motion away from. The Ablative is followed by the Nominative, possibily the Accusative, and occassionally a specific prefinal suffix.
        >
        > Allative is used for motion towards, nearness, and locative functions. The Allative is followed by the Nominative, possibly the Accusative.
        >
        > Locative is used for locative functions (duplicating some functions of the Allative). The Locative is followed by the Nominative, sometimes a nominal suffix, and rarely a diminutive.
        >
        > Instrumental is used for instrumental (and comitative? "with" in the sentence is ambigious) functions and for the direct object in a ditransitive construction. (If someone remembers the name of this construction, please tell me!)

        In languages with this type of ditransitive alignment, the direct object
        of a monotransitive verb or the indirect object of a ditransitive verb
        is called the primary object, and the direct object of a ditransitive
        verb is called the secondary object. This ditransitive alignment is
        often called "dechticetiative" (as opposed to "dative"); this
        distinction is analogous to the distinction in monotransitive alignment
        between accusative and ergative.

        >
        > Genitive can be autonomous or subordinate. If it is subordinate, it can be followed by Nominative or Accusative.
        >
        > IIUC This scheme allows all "nouns" outside of the Vocative and Temporal to be marked as Nominative or Accusative, which actually simplifies the syntax of the clause.I do, however, have some questions: firstly, has anyone seen this system of subordinate and autonomous case marking outside North America? Or even elsewhere in North America? Secondly, one of the allomorphs of the Nominative Case is 0. This in itself is not surprising. Due to the autonomous/subordinate system, in certain circumstances the Nominative allomorph following a subordinate case suffix is 0. How does one determine that the Nominative allomorph is there at all under such circumstances?
        >
      • Anthony Miles
        ... In languages with this type of ditransitive alignment, the direct object of a monotransitive verb or the indirect object of a ditransitive verb is called
        Message 3 of 3 , May 19, 2013
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          > I was browsing Wikipedia for interesting case structures, and I come across Southern Sierra Miwok, a language spoken by Native Americans in California.
          >
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Sierra_Miwok_language
          >
          > Southern Sierra Miwok has nine cases, divided into three groups: autonomous, subordinate, and possessive. Autonomous case suffixes are the last suffix on a word. Subordinate case suffixes must be followed by an autonomous case suffix. The possessive has two allomorphs, one autonomous, one subordinate.
          >
          > The autonomous case suffixes are Nominative, Accusative, Temporal, and Vocative.
          >
          > Nominative is used for the subject of the sentence, forms modifying the subject of a sentence (I guess 'adjective' is not a formal category in SSM), citation forms, predicative and coordinative constructions, and as the autonomous case when a subordinate case suffix is used.
          >
          > Accusative is used for the direct object, the indirect object in a ditransitive sentence (the example under Instrumental suggests a benefactive flavor), and an accusative of duration.
          >
          > Temporal is used with time words, location in time or space, although more broadly than an English speaker would expect, venturing into adverbial territory.
          >
          > The Vocative is used with terms of address.
          >
          > The subordinate case suffixes are Ablative, Allative, Locative, and Instrumental.
          >
          > Ablative is used for motion away from. The Ablative is followed by the Nominative, possibily the Accusative, and occassionally a specific prefinal suffix.
          >
          > Allative is used for motion towards, nearness, and locative functions. The Allative is followed by the Nominative, possibly the Accusative.
          >
          > Locative is used for locative functions (duplicating some functions of the Allative). The Locative is followed by the Nominative, sometimes a nominal suffix, and rarely a diminutive.
          >
          > Instrumental is used for instrumental (and comitative? "with" in the sentence is ambigious) functions and for the direct object in a ditransitive construction. (If someone remembers the name of this construction, please tell me!)

          In languages with this type of ditransitive alignment, the direct object
          of a monotransitive verb or the indirect object of a ditransitive verb
          is called the primary object, and the direct object of a ditransitive
          verb is called the secondary object. This ditransitive alignment is
          often called "dechticetiative" (as opposed to "dative"); this
          distinction is analogous to the distinction in monotransitive alignment
          between accusative and ergative.

          R: 'dechticetiative' was the word I was trying (and failing) to spell. In some notes I have, the authors give up on the term 'dechticetiative' and just call the system 'secondary object'. My Siye has a secondary object system in ditransitive causative clauses (which Siye interprets more broadly than the name might indicative) with imperfective aspect, but it does not use the instrumental - it uses the dative-benefactive case for animates and the dative-allative case for inanimates. The accusative-ergative split in Siye is strongly attached to the aspect system, more rigourously so than any Terrestrial tongue (the Simayamka are humanoid Martians, less human than Dejah Thoris but more than Tars Tarkas).

          Since I'm rewriting the syntax section in FrathWiki, I'm considering changing the animate to the instrumental case, which seems more naturalistic. Unfortunately, the instrumental case in Siye can only be used with inanimate nouns, and the offensiveness of using the instrumental with an animate noun is already established, so if I change it, the structure changes from NOUN + CASE SUFFIX to (NOUN + POSSESSIVE CASE) + (INANIMATE NOUN + INSTRUMENTAL). Currently, "I will show him the city" is
          (le) _itu_ lusili elekopusumma",
          but under this change it would become
          "le _ine eki_ lusili elekopusumma" (muki? meki? tumki?)
          'eki' could be either the word for 'thing' or the 3rd person inanimate pronoun plus the instrumental, so one could read the sentence either as secondary object or a double accusative. Since the verb only has one slot for an object prefix, the 'primary' object, lusili, would still be primary.
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