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Case and conjugation names (for YACL)

From:Carlos Thompson <chlewey@...>
Date:Monday, July 28, 2003, 15:12
The language is chiefly SVO, but sentences can also be easily SOV or VSO.

Nouns might have several cases, whose names are somehow arbitrary here:

1. a nominative/absolute case, which is how the word appears as subject in
SVO and SOV constructions.

2. an accusative case, used for the object when they are affected by the

3. an ergative case, used by the object when they are performing the verb.

4. a dative case, used when they object is the focus of the action of the

5. an ablative case, used when the object causes the action of the verb, but
does not acts it.

Verbs are conjugated, not to the person of the subject but to how they are
related to the subject:

conjugation 1. Means that the subject does the verb.

conjugation 2. Means that the subject is affected by the verb.

conjugation 3. Means that the subject is beneficed by the verb.

conjugation 4. Means that the subject is provoking (but not causing) the

conjugation 0. Means that the verb is not clarifying the relationship with
the subject: used mainly in VSO constructions.


The house burns:
1) house-abs burn-2
2) burn-0 house-acc

John burns (causing something to burn):
1) John-abs burn-1
2) burn-0 John-erg

John burns the house:
1) John-abs burn-1 house-acc
2) John-abs house-acc burn-1
3) house-abs burn-2 John-erg
4) house-abs John-erg burn-2
5) burn-0 house-acc John-erg
6) burn-0 John-erg house-acc

John gives Mary a book:
1) John-abs give-1 Mary-dat book-acc (etc.)
2) Mary-abs give-3 book-acc John-erg (etc.)
3) book-abs give-2 Mary-dat John-erg (etc.)
4) give-0 Mary-dat book-acc John-erg (etc.)

I am still working details on how the cases and conjugations work. It will
probably be done by decletion morphems that will include number and aspect
information. And there might be another cases like instrumental and

Is this natural? Which names will better fit the cases and conjugations?

-- Carlos Th


Roger Mills <romilly@...>