Matt wrote :
> In some ergative languages (I'm thinking especially of Australian languages)
> the ergative and the instrumental are homophonous, and can be considered
> a single case form. Participants marked by this case are interpreted as
> agents if animate, and instruments if inanimate:
> John-ERG knife-ERG chicken-ABS killed
> "John killed the chicken with the knife"
> Tokana, it seems, is like PL in that the ergative case is reserved for
> volitional animates. Non-volitional and/or inanimate participants are
> marked with the instrumental case:
> Na Tsion mukteh hitol
> the-Erg John-Erg closed-the door-Abs
> "John closed the door (on purpose)"
> Inan Tsionne mukteh hitol
> the-Inst John-Inst closed-the door-Abs
> "John closed the door (accidentally)"
> Itan suhune mukteh hitol
> the-Inst wind-Inst closed-the door-Abs
> "The wind closed the door"
Christophe's language is almost like that. Funny that he re-makes nat- and conlangs he didn't learn.
My languages also work like that : cases equate voices and derive from the verbs 'to be' (=equative), 'to have as inalienable feature' (=attributive), 'to use' (=instrumental), 'to make' (=causative), 'to suffer' (=patientive) with a tag making them *inalienable attributes* of the predicate :
I hammer a nail with a stone :
me-ERG stone-INSTR nail-PAT hammer.
I flatten field :
me-CAUS field-EQUA flat-thing.
I strengthen you
me-CAUS you-ATTRIB strength.
I clothe you with a coat
me-CAUS you-ATTRIB (coat-INSTR) coat.
See the original message at http://www.egroups.com/list/conlang/?start=18521