Posted by Mark Rosenfelder (188.8.131.52) on August 31, 2000 at 14:52:21:
I'm reading yet another book on historical linguistics, and I'm wishing I had more reanalysis in Almean languages-- it's truly neat. A syntactic example: there's a construction in Chinese that works like this:
Cheng bâ Zhang dâle
Cheng obj Zhang hit-perf
Cheng hit Zhang
bâ is an object preposition (like Japanese wa. But it derives from a verb meaning 'take hold of'. So, the original form of such sentences meant something like "Cheng took hold of Zhang [and] hit [him]"; the current meaning is just "Cheng hit Zhang". Neat, huh?
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