Print

Print


"Mike S." wrote:
> Passive voice, if I understand that there is an optional
> agent which is not expressed, and thus is related to the next
> example.  Alternately, middle voice, assuming that the agent
> is totally inexpressible, and this example is not related
> to the next example.

Is that the difference between middle and passive?  What do you mean by
"totally inexpressible"?  Do you mean that it's grammatically impossible
to state the agent?

> Incidentally, while this construction sounds odd to the English ear,
> "I paint myself (-on) the teeth", it sounds perfectly fine
> to francophones.

And Spanish-speakers, as in signs in countless public restrooms "Lávese
las manos" :-)

I wonder, is this a general Romance feature?

I'll have to contemplate how Uatakassi does this.  I'm leaning towards
person = ergative, part = absolutive for volitional acts on the body
(like washing, etc.), and simple intransitives with the person expressed
by a genitive for nonvolitional acts (like, breaking bones).  For
example:

The man washed his hands
Famatazna nlakusal natluniki
Past-wash-them man-erg hand-pl ("The man washed the hands")

The man broke his legs
Fakunifna uafbaskai nlakusaf
Past-break-them leg-pl man-gen ("The man's legs were broken")

Of course, if the man *deliberately* broke his legs, then it would be:
Fakunifna nlakusal uafbaskai
Past-break-them man-erg leg-pl

--
"There's no such thing as 'cool'.  Everyone's just a big dork or nerd,
you just have to find people who are dorky the same way you are." -
overheard
ICQ: 18656696
AIM Screen-Name: NikTaylor42