LINGUIST List 2.379

Friday, 2 August 1991

Disc: Acehnese

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Acehnese "Subject", "Object", "Passive", and other "Relations"
  2. Scott Delancey, Re: Queries
  3. bert peeters, Acehnese

Message 1: Acehnese "Subject", "Object", "Passive", and other "Relations"

Date: Thu, 1 Aug 91 16:36:08 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Acehnese "Subject", "Object", "Passive", and other "Relations"
In reply to Ralf Thiede's query about Acehnese (Ac, also called "Achenese"):
(1) Correct, there is no case inflection in Ac; in fact, there is
 virtually no inflection at all.
(2) However, the next suspicion, to the effect that "grammatical functions
 like subject and object are usually expressed positionally" contains
 a very strong presupposition (also present, but explicitly so, in
 Perlmutter's article), namely that there *are* such "grammatical
 functions" as "subject" and "object" in Ac.
 This is a matter of considerable dispute, as well as being a canon
 of Relational Grammar. Durie and I agree (though, I suspect, for
 different reasons) that the category "Subject", in particular, is
 effectively irrelevant in Ac; we both tend to refer instead to
 semantic case roles like "Agent" or "Patient" (Durie prefers
 "Undergoer" for the latter) instead of "Subject" in order to avoid
 the ideological impedimenta that obligatorily surrounds it. On the
 other hand, Abdul Gani Asyik, who is a native speaker, continues to
 apply the term "subject" to Ac grammar without feeling necessarily
 constrained by others' theoretical presuppositions.
(3) In the light of (2), the question as to whether the cited sentences
 (which came originally from my 1977 and 1975 papers) are "active"
 depends considerably on your political orientation. My own answer
 is that calling a sentence or a construction "passive" is merely a
 naming convention, and says nothing empirical about the thing named.
 As to what "le" is a marker of, you pays your money and you takes
 your choice.
 Asyik, Abdul Gani. 1987. _A Contextual Grammar of Acehnese Sentences_.
 Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan.
 Mark Durie. 1985. _A Grammar of Acehnese on the Basis of a Dialect of
 North Aceh_. _Verhandelingen van het Koninklijk Instituut voor
 Taal- Land- en Volkenkunde_ Nr. 112. Dordrecht: Foris.
 ----- 1988. "The So-Called Passive of Acehnese", _Language_ 64:1.
 John Lawler. 1977. "A Agrees with B in Achenese: A Problem for Relational
 Grammar", in Cole & Sadock (eds), _Syntax and Semantics_, Vol 8,
 _Grammatical Relations_, New York: Academic Press.
 ----- 1975. "On Coming to Terms in Achenese: The Function of Verbal Dis-
 Agreement", in Grossman, San, & Vance (eds), _Papers From the
 Parasession on Functionalism_, Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.
 ----- 1988. "On the Questions of Acehnese 'Passive'", _Language_ 64:1.
 ----- 1990. Review of Durie (1985), _Lingua_ 82:4.
 John Lawler
 Program in Linguistics
 University of Michigan USERLL3NUMICHUM.BITNET
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Message 2: Re: Queries

Date: Wed, 31 Jul 1991 16:57 PDT
Subject: Re: Queries
RE: Acehnese query
You need Mark Durie's grammar (A grammar of Acehnese ... Foris, 1985).
See also his paper in Language 64:1 (1988).
Scott DeLancey
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Message 3: Acehnese

Date: Thu, 1 Aug 91 11:46:07 +1000
From: bert peeters <>
Subject: Acehnese
Mark Durie is a specialist. He is at or
and several other addresses at the University of Melbourne.
Dr Bert Peeters Tel: +61 02 202344
Department of Modern Languages 002 202344
University of Tasmania at Hobart Fax: 002 202186
GPO Box 252C
Hobart TAS 7001
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