Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 3 20:00:26 UTC 1998

>>[in Drav. langauges?] locatives can be raised to subject position in a
>>passive context, whereas this is impossible in Indo-european
>>like Sanskrit. There only indirect and direct objects can be raised =
>>like in English, Dutch etc.

and, later,

>1) ta.n.nIr to.t.ti(y)-il niramp-i(y)-atu
>water - tank-LOC - fill-PAST
>2) to.t.ti enn-Al ta.n.nIr-Ati ko.n.tu nirappa-pa.t-.t-atu
>tank me-BY water-WITH fill-PAST-PASS

My knowledge of the grammar of my own mother-tongue is minimal, so I'll
ask the following questions, even if all this is too elementary.

Is 1) considered to be an active construction in Tamil? If so, it
doesn't presume another agent, does it? It seems to me that sentence 2)
is not the true passive form of 1). It relies on an additional agent,
denoted by enn-Al in the passive construction. Another form would be

2a) to.t.ti ta.n.nIr-(in)Al nirampiyatu/

However, if 1) is an active construction, so is 2a), and the locative
phrase from 1) has still moved to subject position in 2a).

Secondly, if 1) is not an active construction in Tamil, the comparison
is somewhat confusing. The equivalent English sentences are -

A. Water was filled in the tank.
B. The tank was filled with water.

A and B are both passive constructions, but the locative phrase in A has
been moved/raised to subject position in B. But isn't this supposed to
be impossible in IE languages?

Or is it that in IE languages, a locative phrase in an *active*
construction does not become subject in a *passive* construction? E.g.,

A1. The revolutionaries dumped tea into the ocean.
B1. Tea was dumped by the revolutionaries into the ocean.

Clarifications welcome,

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