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erg/abs; verbs.

From:Mangiat <mangiat@...>
Date:Sunday, March 12, 2000, 19:07

I have some questions about languages that use ergative/absolutive case
Is in these tounges the verbal system generally passive? If I have verbal
personal endings, will they agree with the absolutive? Is there in these
languages a difference of voice as in Indoeuropean active/middle-passive?

I'm working to a new language, a synthesis of my old sketches, and I'd like
to give it some exotic features (as erg/abs case system) in a general
traditional occidental flavour (latin-like phonology, declensions, difficult
verbs' conjugation...).

I'm also trying to avoid the use of the passive voice - and that's why I'm
interested in erg/abs - here are some tricks I've invented to do it, I would
like you to comment them:

1- use an erg/abs grammar;

2- use a word order where the topic of a sentence is always in a certain
position (but I'd also like to free up th word order, so it doesn't seem a
good thing...);

3- use a trigger marker on verb's object to make it the subject of a passive
        Eat  I             apple
        verb+1s         apple+ACC
        I eat an aplle
        Eat  I             apple
        verb+1s         apple+ACC+*TRIGGER*
        An apple is eaten by me
        'I' is always the grammatical subject; 'aplle' is the logical

4- use the same case for the subject of an active sentence and for the agent
of a passive one, while using a different case for the object of an active
sentence and the subject of a passive one:
        Eat  I                       apple
        verb+1sNOM         apple+ACC
        I eat an aplle
        Eat  I                       apple
        verb+1sNOM         apple+*SUBJECTIVE*
        An apple is eaten by me
        'I' is always the grammatical subject; 'aplle' is the logical

5- do without passive (someone said that languages would be really much
better without passive - was he studying Greek verbs?)


Another think I would like to speak about is the tense system I'm creating
for my conlang. I have designed six tenses.

1-    Present:            I eat an apple;        I'm eating an apple

2-    Perfect:            I have eaten an apple (I'm eating it yet or I've
just finished to eat it)

3-    Aorist:              I ate an apple (and this happened so much time
ago I don't bother about it anymore) I used to eat an apple (only one a day,
but every day, and I don't do it anymore)

4-    Future:             I will eat an apple, I'm going to eat an apple,
I'm eating an apple

-plus two additional tenses, always agreed with other time clauses:

5-    Anterior:           After I eat an apple(ANT), I'm doing my
After I ate an apple(ANT), I have done my homework(PERF)
After I had eaten an apple(ANT), I did my homework(AOR)
After I will have eaten an apple(ANT), I will be doing my homework(FUT)

6-    Posterior:          same uses, postponed, after the principal action.

What do you say about this?


Luca Mangiat

P.S.: I hope you haven't had an indigestion with all those apples...  :)))

P.P.S.:Excuse me for my English!