Argument Agreement Pt. 3, Verb Marking

Until now, we have been paying attention to qualities of the noun, endings and word positioning. But there is a third way in which argument functionality can be marked, and that is on the verb. In Latin, Neuter nouns mark their nominatives and accusatives the same way. So ‘bella’ and ‘omnes’, for example, could be in either case.

(8) bell-um                      omn-es                     vicit
(8) war-NOM/ACC.SG all-NOM/ACC.PL conquered

How then, can we know what this sentence means? Has war conquered all, or have all conquered war? We could appeal to word order, but as we have shown in sentences (3-4), that is not a hard and fast rule in Latin. However, in Latin, the Subject is marked on the verb, or at least the verb marks the subject person and number. In this case, the -t* marks for 3rd person singular. Since only war is in the singular, it must be the subject. We have this to an extent in English.

(9) Joey smokes Pall-Malls
(9b*) Joey smoke Pall-Malls

In English, the -s ending marks for 3rd person singular subjects.

In The Old Tongue, the verb is marked for the number and person of its objects, by insertion of the pronouns.

Person # Singular Dual Plural

1                     ï atï alï
2                    ë atë alë
3                    ö atö alö

The word order in this language would then be SOV, where the internal V structure looks something like this:
V-SBJ-TENSE-OBJ. The Tense markers are all consonants. If there is no tense marker, a glottal stop will be inserted. This will be used for aorist or general tense, to express such sentences such as (10). That sentence is not saying that Joey is currently smoking Pall-Malls, but rather that he is accustomed to do so.

*which vowels and/or syllables precedes the ending determine tense


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