Ablative of agent



  • Civis

Lutetiæ Parisiorum
To me, universal grammars seem to result from a pretension to be able to describe all languages in the world with one general grammar. If the universal grammar of Chomsky use the concept of indirect object, it haves to apply it in a same way to all languages. If not, it fails to be an universal grammar. Which doesn't mean that all languages should have an indirect object neither.
I've just checked the chapter on Dative in the grammar of Port Royal, and if it underlines that vulgar languages use preposition to mean the dative, it doesn't use the concept of indirect object by its name. That might be a latter concept, or a concept intendedly avoided, or a concept used somewhere else in the grammar...

I don't understand the example of subjunctive, because subjunctive is, as far as I know, mostly a semantic mood. The différence between Dieu te bénit and Dieu te bénisse is purely semantic ; while the indirect object is mainly syntactical which fail to be precisely defined semantically... because it isn't well understood.

(I don't suggest that Universal grammar is right, just that it might had attempted to put universal grammatical concept's label over all languages, just like the grammar of Port Royal for whom, French and Greek have an ablative... build with prepositions in French, and using the dative in Greek.)
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  • Censor

  • Patronus

litore aureo
Perhaps we should be amazed when we find similar structures in languages from different groups rather than expect that they exist.

john abshire

Well-Known Member

  • Patronus

Think the thing logically rather than grammatically, if it helps: the agent (id est, literally, the "doer") of an active voice is the subject.
It is in passive voices that the subject became the patient (id est, literally, the "endurer"). That's where a complement of agent is needed to express the agent.
Thank you. This makes sense.
The farmer killed the rabbit.
The rabbit was killed by the farmer.

But this raises another question.
In the passive voice sentence, is rabbit the subject?