T.I. Console info at TICONSOLE.NL
Sat Jul 4 19:25:09 UTC 1998

Vidyasankar Sundaresan wrote

>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
>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/

Here you are right. 2 is not meant here as the exact passive copy of 1. In fact, your
sentence (2a) is a better example. In your example 2a, too, the locative phrase has been
moved to subject position.

>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?

This is not the point, as 1) is an active consturction in Tamil. I wrote in a shorter notation here to save time and space on the web, but as you see, the contrary became true. I shoud have said PAST-PNG, or PAST with person-number-gender agreement. It's an active past tense.

>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.

This is true. As you see in your example, ocean cannot be a subject in a passive construction. In Dutch, it seems to be possible, but on closer look the verb then has changed to a medium like one:

1) hij wandelt op de straat
he - walks - on - the - street
2) de straat wordt bewandeld
the - street - is - walked on

That `bewandeld' is not a simple perfect passive form of the active `wandelt' in 1) is seen in the alternative active construction of 1) without the preposition:

1b) hij bewandelt de straat
he - walks on - the - street

Sandra van der Geer
info at
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