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> From: Lars Henrik Mathiesen
>

[ snipped a bit]

> The way I interpreted Vasiliy's question, the point is that in
> relation to intransitive sentences, the active transitive in an
> ergative language:
>
>   (1*) Active Intransitive: Mary-ABS sleep-ACT-ITR
>   (2*) Active Transitive:   Mary-ABS love-ACT-TR John-ERG
>
> looks much the same as the passive in an ergative language:
>
>   (1*) Active Intransitive: Mary-ABS sleep-ACT-ITR
>   (3*) Passive:             Mary-ABS love-PASS John-INS
>
> or indeed in an accusative language:
>
>   (4*) Active Intransitive: Mary-NOM sleep-ACT-ITR
>   (6*) Passive:             Mary-NOM love-PASS John-INS
>
> until you get enough other information to decide which it is.
>
> Especially, and that was the context from Tom Wier's post, in an
> ergative language that has both active and passive, and uses ergative
> case marking for non-core agents too:
>
>   (1*) Active Intransitive: Mary-ABS sleep-ACT-ITR
>   (2*) Active Transitive:   Mary-ABS love-ACT-TR John-ERG
>   (3+) Passive:             Mary-ABS love-PASS John-ERG
>
> How do you decide which set of verb endings are active transitive, and
> which are passive?

Ah.  Sorry, I somehow missed this point.  So the discrimination problem
being discussed then relates only to ergative languages that conflate the
ergative and instrumental cases (or whatever case is used for the demoted
A-function argument in the passive) as does Dyirbal and some other
Australian languages and not to ergative vs passive in general.  In that
case I agree.

Stay curious,
David

David E. Bell
The Gray Wizard
www.graywizard.net

elivas en ishron ordelmar cotronian
Wisdom begins in wonder.