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Re: Request for feedback on the Vilani verb

From:Robert Eaglestone <downport@...>
Date:Thursday, March 18, 2004, 23:25
Q: "Why is agency marked?"


Thank you for a prompt reply.  I will try to
answer your question.

One possible answer, which I am unsure about, is
that Vilani is an ergative language.  Except I'm
not sure what that implies.

One point I think you hit upon is in fact true:
personal names often drop the ergative case marker,
especially where the object is inanimate or

I think agency is marked because of topicalization;
that is, the sentence structure doesn't have to be
V-A-P.  If a Vilani speaker wanted to put the agent
in a passive role, the patient would come first in
the sentence. For example:

 Le-s-khugash liraam-gim Eneri.
 him-it-hit   vehicle    Eneri

 "A vehicle hit Eneri."


 Eneri leskhugash liraamgim.

 "Eneri (as opposed to someone else)
  was hit by a vehicle."


 Liraamgim leskhugash Eneri.

 "The vehicle (in question) hit Eneri."

There actually is a passive construction, but it's
more like a 'cosmic helplessness'.

Again, thanks for your reply.