Marcus Smith wrote:

> Matt Pearson wrote:
> >Tokana is another conlang with an active case-marking system.  Tokana is
> >strictly dependent-marking in this regard, inasmuch as there is no agreement
> >morphology on verbs.  The breakdown of case forms works more-or-less like
> >this:
> >
> >ABSOLUTIVE:  patients/themes (including subjects of non-eventive verbs)
> >NOMINATIVE:  volitional agents of eventive verbs (both transitive and
> >intransitive)
> What do you mean by "eventive verbs"?

Verbs denoting events (as opposed to stative verbs).

> >DATIVE ("to/at/in"):  recipients, experiencers of verbs of
> >perception/emotion/cognition, goals, locations, possessors
> >ABLATIVE ("from/of/out of"):  sources, non-volitional agents of eventive
> >verbs,
> >standards of comparison, supersets in partitive relations, reasons/motives,
> >substances
> >INSTRUMENTAL ("with/by/via/through"):  instruments and inanimate actors,
> >measurements/durations, degrees of comparison
> While this system makes distinctions not commonly found in accusative and
> ergative languages, I don't see why you call it active.

My characterization of Tokana as active is based on the fact that the
case-marking of the subject (insofar as it is possible to characterise a notion
"subject" for this language) correlates with things like degree of
agentivity/animacy and degree of involvement:

Absolutive subjects (undergoers):

  Ne      Tsion    itskane
  the-Abs John-Abs arrived
  "John arrived"

  Ne      Tsion    tioke
  the-Abs John-Abs died
  "John died"

Nominative subjects (volitional agents):

  Na      Tsion    hostane
  the-Nom John-Nom danced
  "John danced"

  Na      Tsion    tsitspit    kopo
  the-Nom John-Nom smashed-the pot-Abs
  "John smashed the pot"

Ablative subjects (non-volitional animate agents):

  Inaul   Tsionu   tsitspit    kopo
  the-Abl John-Abl smashed-the pot-Abs
  "John accidentally smashed the pot"

Instrumental subjects (inanimate agents):

  Itan     suhoua    tsitspit    kopo
  the-Inst wind-Inst smashed-the pot-Abs
  "The wind smashed the pot" (by blowing it off the table)

Dative subjects (experiencers):

  Ine'    Tsione   hilin   ikei
  the-Dat John-Dat saw-the dog-Abs
  "John saw the dog"

  Ine'    Tsione   kesta
  the-Dat John-Dat happy
  "John is happy"

Consider also the following triplet of sentences, each translated "John cut his

  Na      Tsion    hane silh
  the-Nom John-Nom cut  finger

  Inaul   Tsionu   hane silh
  the-Abl John-Abl cut  finger

  Ine'    Tsione   hane silh
  the-Dat John-Dat cut  finger

The choice of which sentence to use depends on the degree of volitional
involvement exhibited by John:  The first sentence would be used if John cut his
finger deliberately (e.g., in preparation for a blood-sibling ritual).  The
second sentence would be used if John performed an action which caused his finger
to get cut, but did so without intent (e.g., he was cutting food and the knife
slipped).  The third sentence would be used if someone or something else cut
John's finger (e.g., he was running along and accidentally grazed his hand
against something sharp).

I acknowledge that languages which are usually called "active" don't really work
like this, but I don't know what else to call the Tokana case-marking pattern.
Do you have any suggestions?