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Re: [Lingo] Correct particle to use


> So 好く is a transitive verb, but is just never used that way? I wonder
> when the usage changed?

I've heard it used quite a bit transitively, but always *passivized*
(「あの人は好かれてるね」).  I can't say I can remember running
into it in normal
active voice, but then I'm a gaijin too :-)  However come to think of it
(re: the article we were discussing), one wonders then why that author
didn't use を好く or even を好む?  Maybe she really *was*
trying to make a
linguistic statement...

>> Any time languages come into contact, they can affect each other, and
>> cause change.
> Sure. I meant, "Why would English have *this* influence?" i.e. why the
> を化 (sorry) of が?

Well, simply because in English, patients (thematic role) are always
objects (syntactic category), regardless of what form the verb comes in.
We were making the distinction originally between normal declaratives in
Japanese, where the patient is object (i.e を-marked) and
where the patient is marked as subject.  The theory of contact-induced
change being that (forgive the sloppiness of this) Japanese speakers
experience the fact that syntactic representation of patients is simpler
(more unified) in English, and begin to evolve their own language in the
direction of simplification (fewer distinctions/exceptions). This sort
of "levelling" is a powerful and basic process in language change,
although there are of course opposing forces that increase complexity,
otherwise we'd all just be grunting at each other by now :-)

Note, however, that this view is probably a gaijin view in one sense.
That is, it is based on the idea that declaratives and potentials are at
base inflections of the same underlying word.  That's how we'd like to
see it as Indo-European speakers.  Maybe they're not, though.  If
they're not, really, then the theory has to include a provision that
says that the Japanese are at the same time *reanalyzing* semantically-
related declarative and potential verb forms (yomu/yomeru, suru/dekiru),
which are "supposed to be" separate at some level, as being underlyingly
the same (under the same contact influence, presumably). It gets
complicated :-) And of course I have no real evidence to back any of
this up.... I just like thinking and talking about it :-)

>> Now, some speech groups are highly protective of their languages, and
>> reject all outside influence, including loanwords.  But we know this
>> is not true of the Japanese :-)
> This is a little odd, given how proud the Japanese are of their
> languages.

Proud, yes, but my personal feeling is that a lot of the 日本人ism
that you
see, whether it's cultural, linguistic, or whatever, comes mostly out of
a need to put some brakes on their natural tendency to soak up
everything from outside.  They need to say "hey wait, we're not just
your little brothers who imitate everything you do!" and assert their
identity.  And I can relate to that.  It's mostly not too obnoxious,
except in a few individuals.

> And by "some speech groups", you mean the French; admit it! ;)

Nnn, the French did cross my mind :-), but it wasn't mainly them I was
referring to.  I meant more the very small, minority (often indigenous)
language groups who are really small enough to actually prevent outside
influence.  The French may make a lot of noise about it, but the
language is of course too widespread for them to control it.

> If you don't believe me, try this experiment: suggest to a Japanese
> friend of yours (preferably one over 40) that their language and
> Korean are very similar grammatically, and see if you still get
> invited over for tea. ;)

Funny, most of my experience has been that they are happy to recognize
the similarities... almost as though they're glad not to be completely
"isolated" from the human race :-)


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