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Strange voices

From:Pablo David Flores <pablo-flores@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 22, 2003, 0:57
I'm sketching a new language (provisionally known as Terbian)
and trying to experiment abstractly with verb voices that are
not conventional. Terbian is a Split-S language (if I got the
meaning right). It marks some subjects as Agents (A) and others
as Patients (P), with a fixed pattern for each verb. Besides
these core cases there's also an oblique case (OBL). The voices
I've been trying are these:

1. subject-P verb complement-OBL
   becomes -> complement-P APPLIC-verb-* subject-OBL
(APPLIC = applicative, from a fixed set; * = voice operator)

Example: cat-P sleeps on mat-OBL -> mat-P on-sleeps-* cat-OBL
"The mat on-it-sleeps a cat".

This works also with A-subject verbs, though the semantics is tricky:

subject-A verb object-P -> subject-P OBJECT_APPLIC-verb-* [object-OBL]

Example: dog-A bites cat-P -> dog-P OBJECT_APPLIC-bites-* [cat-OBL]
In my mind it looks as if the focus is shifted from the argument(s)
to the verbal action itself: "The dog is the one who bites [the cat]."

Does this make any sense? If so, any ideas for the name of this beast?

Terbian also has a mediopassive and a generic applicative voice that
transforms an oblique argument into a patient ("he swims under the boat"
-> "he underswims the boat").

--Pablo Flores
  "Your freedom justifies our war."
    (Niccolò Macchiavelli -- slightly paraphrased.)


Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>