On Fri, Jan 17, 2003 at 10:04:54PM +0100, Andrew Nowicki wrote:
> "H. S. Teoh" wrote:
> HST> do you express passives, if at all?
> HST> How would you say "I ate" vs. "I was eaten"?
> Preposition "igo" is a passive modifier. Examples:
> "ila oga eba igo ufyci" = I was almost killed.
> "yditoby igo ujeti idi ila" = The bananas are bought by me.

This doesn't address the problem of people whose native language has *no*
concept of passive. Or more generally, people whose language is not
accusative. They would *definitely* get this totally mixed up without
investing some serious effort in relearning basic grammar. Mind you, even
within the Indo-European family of languages, there used to be no passive,
but just a "middle" voice. A speaker from such a language would
misunderstand the above as "the bananas bought me for themselves".
Probably not what you want.

And once you start to deal with Tagalog speakers, then well...

Basically, my point is that you are *not* going to solve the problem of
complex grammar just by sweeping it under the rug and saying "any word
order is OK". It's not. You have to convey grammatical function *somehow*,
and it's not trivial (some would say, not *possible*) to come up with a
system that would be easy to understand for *everyone*.


Never wrestle a pig. You both get covered in mud, and the pig likes it.