On Sun, Dec 01, 2002 at 09:17:46PM +0100, Christophe Grandsire wrote:
> Ergative systems are different from accusative systems only for the two
> main cases used for the subject and the object of a verb. In fact, you
> can understand things by thinking in terms of roles: the subject of an
> intransitive verb (S), the subject of a transitive verb (A, for agent)
> and the object of a transitive verb (P, for patient).
> Nominative-accusative languages group S and A together (nominative), and
> put P alone (accusative). On the other hand, ergative languages use the
> same case for S and P (absolutive) and leave A alone (ergative). And of
> course, there are those languages called active which treat S, A and P
> all differently :)) . And the image is more blurred by languages which
> seem to use different systems depending on whether the subject is
> animate, willing, etc... :))) . But for a simple image just take what I
> said before.

Wow. This simple explanation for accusative/ergative/active is probably
the clearest (in layman's terms) I've read so far. I think I'm actually
beginning to understand it. :-P

> If you want an example of a purely ergative language, look at my Azak,
> it's on my webpage. It also has quite a lot of cases, so you can see
> what can be used ;))) . And for a language which uses cases in quite
> strange ways, look at my Moten ;))) .

In what way is Moten's cases "strange"? Just curious to know how it
compares to Ebisedian. ;-) (OK, so it's on your webpage... but what's the


If it ain't broke, hit it again. -- Foon