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Re: Invitation to The Head-Last Project

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Thursday, October 23, 2003, 16:24
----- Original Message -----
From: "Paul Bennett" <paul-bennett@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2003 3:20 PM
Subject: Re: Invitation to The Head-Last Project

> On 23 Oct 2003 at 8:31, Tristan McLeay wrote: > > > On Thu, 23 Oct 2003, Andreas Johansson wrote: > > > > > I once made a sketch of a conlang which was, IIRC nom-acc in the past,
> > > in the present and Monster Raving Loony in the future, along with some
> > > mappings between different case and tense endings; ergative,
accusative and
> > > intransitive, past and future where all unmarked, while nominative,
> > > transitive and present all took the same affix. Hm, that doesn't look
> > > right - it was supposed to be completely unambigous too (syntax
telling verbs
> > > from nouns). > > > > Pidse has aspects of this in it, too. Except with moods and aspects, > > rather than tenses. More complicated stuff too. Probably bizarre and I'm > > sure there's _something_ that breaks the principle of anadewism. Written > > down in a book. Which I'll look at now that the holidays are almost here > > :) > > One anti-anadewist move was Andreas making a language which was > ergative in the present and nominative in the past. Universally, > languages which split S dependant on tense do so the other way > around. There is a "naturalistic" explanation, which goes something > like "descriptions of events in the past are more likely to be > concerned with outcomes than initiators". >
In the Indic languages(some of which, at least, are semi-split S), It derives from a passive construction. In Sanskrit, putting two nominals together made a sentence. This included participles. Therefore, (an example given by Teach Yourself Sanskrit) - jito Ráks.asah. conquer.PP Ráks.asa.NOM (where a full stop signifies an underdot) means 'Ráks.asa has been beaten'. And jito Ráks.asas' Cán.akyena conquer.PP Ráks.asa.NOM Cán.akya.INS means 'Ráks.asa has been beaten by Cán.akya', which can easily be rephrased as 'Cán.yaka beat Ráks.asa'. Eventually, it became the normal way of expressing the past, and when the normal use of the instrumental disappeared, the Instrumental became a kind of Ergative case.
> > > Paul >