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Re: Ergative?

From:The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>
Date:Thursday, September 27, 2001, 10:39
> From: Matthew Kehrt > > I have a case in my lang, Eviendadhail, which I used to think was > ergative, but, after reading more about ergativity, I'm now unsure. > This case indicates the thing used to perform the action. For example, > I could say, without using this case: > > Éyaverog silen negeth. > > which is: > > The boy killed the jabberwock. > > Or, I could say: > > Ilelés éyaverog silen negeth. > > which is: > > The boy killed the jabberwock with a sword. > > This case indicates the sword, that is, the tool used to perform the > verb. Does anyone know what this is called, if anything?
This looks like an "instrumental" case to me, although it is not clear from your examples which nouns are marked for which cases. Interestingly, I know of at least one ergative language, Dyirbal, which conflates the ergative and the instrumental (this may be the case for Warrgamay as well, but I'm not sure). I toyed with this idea for my principal conlang, amman iar, before discarding it and resurrected the idea for a second and now dormant if not defunct conlang, forendar. It can provide for some interesting semantics around the nature of "agency" Did the boy kill the jabberwocky or did the sword kill it? In the end, I decided, at least for amman iar, that "Swords don't kill, people do." That of course is a concultural decision with which I don't personally agree. Funny how a conlang/conculture can violate even its creator's belief systems. Stay curious, David David E. Bell The Gray Wizard elivas en ishron ordelmar cotronian Wisdom begins in wonder.


The Gray Wizard <dbell@...>Agency/Instrumentality (was RE: Ergative?)