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ziggy (25)

ziggy
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Journal of ziggy (25)

Tuesday May 10, 2005
04:42 PM

Tales of the Basque Cthulu

[ #24617 ]

Now suppose we combine two sentences with "and", like this: "Cthulhu ate him and died". In English that sentence has to mean that it was Cthulhu who died, eh? But in Basque, it could only be interpreted as short for "Cthulhu ate him and him died", meaning that the unnamed eatee (sic) was the one who perished. This is called syntactic ergativity, and not all languages that are ergative in the above (morphological) sense exhibit it.

-- from John Cowan

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  • If some "him" would be fatal to The Old One if eatten, "him" has a duty to arrange to be eatten by the Old One whose name we dare not type.
    --
    Bill
    # I had a sig when sigs were cool
    use Sig;
    • I don't think that's the point here. The next time the Old One eats someone, he should do it in English, not Basque.

      :-)

      • :-) Indeed.

        Thanks for the pointer, the linguistic article was interesting besides the hilarious example.
        --
        Bill
        # I had a sig when sigs were cool
        use Sig;
  • Since we all know that Great Cthulhu is already dead and dreaming in cyclopean R'lyeh, the final clause must logically refer to hapless proll that got eaten.

    Jeez, aren't the schools teaching kids anything these days?