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Re: mixed system

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Thursday, July 1, 1999, 19:47
J.Barefoot wrote:
> > >From: Sally Caves <scaves@...> > >Lately, I've > >developed > >a middle-voice that has some ergative tendencies, so my claim on my > >"What Is > >Teonaht" page is now a lie... that T. NEVER uses the patient (or what I > >call the "object") to function as a subject. So the rule seems to be > >that > >anything goes in a conlang. > > > >Sally > > Ergative tendencies? How so? Asiteya also has a middle voice, usually used > when the patient is topicalized/focused (because only a topic or agent can > be a subject).
I had toyed with turning T. into an ergative language a year ago when I discovered ergativity and was all on fire (lehtdel!) about it, but the language resisted. I decided to do something that probably cannot be called either the "middle voice" or the "ergative," but it goes like this: The "passive" is expressed through a periphrastic: one "gets one's hearing," meaning "one is heard." Or: "one is under hearing," meaning "one is heard or being heard." But there are some expressions that use an old passive form that are neither completely passive or active, such as when you want to say "the rose smells lovely," or "the stew is cooking on the fire." In these instances, both "rose" and "stew" are cast in the objective or patientive case and the verb gets an -ib ending that used to be my old past participle ending (rejected as too "European"), now used solely to represent that it is being cooked by an unstated subject: Ta androfaiht il rosa olinib CAUS. lovely rose smell+old.pass.ending As lovely (to unstated subject) smells? rose Nromil flehta il zoyzod kwecib On the fire stew cook+old.pass.ending On the fire (unstated subject) cooks the stew. The -ib ending is rarely used as any kind of passive when you can use the tsob (under) affix or the periphrastic, so I call it a kind of middle voice. Maybe this is wrong. Sally