Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ   

Re: Ergative?

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Thursday, September 27, 2001, 5:02
Quoting Yoon Ha Lee <yl112@...>:

> On Wednesday, September 26, 2001, at 07:21 PM, Matthew Kehrt wrote: > > > 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? > > Instrumental, I think? I'm sure some Wiser Member of the List will > correct me. :-)
I'd have to see more examples of Eviendadhail to tell whether you're talking about a genuine ergative case, or an instrumental. If E. has an ergative case (marking all kinds of agents), then his original intuition could be more descriptive. There are actually some ergative languages where the ergative marks agents of any kind, including those in passive sentences, where we'd normally expect something called instrumental. (I'd cite you an example, but all my books are at home.) In this case, though, the "agent" is nonvolitional / inanimate, and that has a bearing on the outcome. The more human the agent, the more likely it could take the ergative as I've described above. ============================== Thomas Wier <trwier@...> "If a man demands justice, not merely as an abstract concept, but in setting up the life of a society, and if he holds, further, that within that society (however defined) all men have equal rights, then the odds are that his views, sooner rather than later, are going to set something or someone on fire." Peter Green, in _From Alexander to Actium_, on Spartan king Cleomenes III