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Phaleran update

From:Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 31, 2000, 16:52

Well, I've finally redone Phaleran nominal morphology so as to make
it at least a little ( :) ) typologically coherent.  Here are some of the highlights:

(a) I had this messy split ergative system before which didn't make
any sense with the Nominal Hierarchy (1p --> 2p --> 3p -->
demonstratives --> proper nouns --> common nouns; the further
left you are, the more likely you are to be nominative/accusative).
That's gone, and I've replaced it with a different, more sensible
split ergative system:  first and second person pronouns are nom/acc;
third person pronouns and demonstratives distinguish all three --  S,
A, and O;  all nouns are erg/abs.

(b) There's some variation on thematic marking.  For noncontrol
transitive verbs (see, hear), the subject takes the dative case instead
of the ergative.  Some verbs allow both cases if there's a semantic
change in meaning:

   Pûllu   eoksoi  gethasyonti
   boy:ERG 3pS:ACC see:TR:3pSPf:SEN
   The boy looked at him.

   Pûwo    eoksoi  gethasyonti
   boy:DAT 3pS:ACC see:TR:3pSPf:SEN
   The boy saw him.

(c) possession is handled either by the dative case (for nonvolitionals
or inanimates) or instrumental (for personal pronouns, and all other
semantic classes).  Certain words such as _eultâ_ "slave" or _ksut'is_
"foreigner" naturally take the dative in Phaleran society.

(d) I have "quirky" case verbs -- the verb defines lexically what case
various NPs can be.  E.g.,

   Lo   zesûnto   punâkû    eotwo   k'extasyosni
   PAST fire:INST boy:PL:AB him:DAT burn:TR:3rdPl-IncProg:SEN
   The boys were burning themselves with the fire.

(k'extasyoþei "to burn s.o. or s.t." = +abessive subject, +dative direct object)

When I get around to working on verbal voice, I'll probably have all
derived O's in the dative case for antipassives.  I'm thinking about
having four voices:  active, passive, antipassive, and reflexive. (and no,
I'm not entirely sure how it'll have passive and antipassive both -- I read
that Mam, a Mayan language, has that and just thought it was cool and
had to have it for Phaleran).   What other verbal voices do the rest of
y'all have?

Also:  I'm thinking of working on C_'ali sometime in the next couple months.
C_'ali in Phalera's timeframe was a hegemonic state that existed some several
hundred years after the collapse of the Empire.  It functioned much as, say,
France did during the 17th and 18th centuries:  a military and economic
power which exported its culture and ethos into everything it could lay its
hands on (although, I'm not sure if I want a boy monarch who runs around
his palace dressed as the Rising Sun 8P ).  I'm gonna have to flesh that out
some more since its important to explain linguistic developments in Phaleran
(most of the governmental, scientific and cultural terms in Phaleran come from

Tom Wier <artabanos@...>
"Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."