Dan Jones wrote:
> onions sell themselves here

I believe that this construction is referred to as "mediopassive"?  At
least, if I understand what "middle" and "mediopassive" mean.

Anyhoo, Late Common Watakassí became completely accusative, while
Classical Watakassí was ergative.  This occurred by an extension of the
antipassive, e.g.:
Active voice:
Fakapátas núsal Jánal nús Bíl
Past-hit    John-erg   Bill-abs
Antipassive voice:
Sufkapátas   nús Ján núsi Bíli
AP-past-hit John-abs  Bill-inst

The antipassive eventually became obligatory, so that the old
instrumental case (which took the demoted absolutive) became an
accusative case, and the antipassive prefix su- became a transitive
marker.  This meant that there was now a need for a passive voice, which
was found by extending the reflexive into a mediopassive:
Kufkapátas    piningúsii
Refl-past-hit  wall-abs
The wall hit itself (Classic meaning)
The wall was hit (Late Common meaning)

Which created an ambiguity with animate subjects
Kufkapátas    nús Bíl
Refl-past-hit Bill-abs
Bill hit himself (Classic meaning)
Bill hit himself OR Bill was hit (Late Common meaning)

Which was solved by generalizing the reciprocative into a
Klanfakapátas nús Bíl
Rec-past-hit  Bill-abs
*Bill hit each other (Ungramatical and senseless in Classic Watakassí)
Bill hit himself (Late Common meaning)

In the plural, being ambiguous between reflexive and reciprocative
You and I hit each other (Classic)
You and I hit each other OR You and I each hit ourselves (Late Common)
The same situation that existed in pre-Classic Watakassí, incidentally.
The prefix klan- is derived from ku- (reflexive) plus lan- (obs.
commitative applicative)

This ambiguity was later dealt with differently in different

Dievas dave dantis; Dievas duos duonos
God gave teeth; God will give bread - Lithuanian proverb
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