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Joa~o has expressed some worries that too much of Conlang is off-topic.  Okay, here's a question I have about natural languages of the "active" persuasion.  What natural languages are considered "active," and why is this particular term invoked?
Why "active"?  The term does not seem intuitive.  Mea culpa, there was a huge long thread about active languages just a few months ago, and I seem to have deleted all of them.  Now I have a need for information, and my little textbook at home by Trask says only this:

    A language in which subjects of both
    transitive and intransitive verbs which 
    are semantically agents are treated
    identically for grammatical purposes
    while non-agent subjects and direct
    objects are treated differently.

From this description, it sounds as though an active language has to be an off-shoot of an ergative language.  It goes on:

    In some active languages lexical verbs
    are rigidly divided into those taking agent
    subjects and those taking non-agent 
    subjects; in others, some lexical verbs
    can take either to denote, for example,
    differing degrees of control over the action.

What would be an example of a non-lexical verb?  I understand "lexical" to mean "having REAL semantic content," but what puzzles me about some of this terminology is that it will oppose things I see to be mutually inclusive: semantic rather than syntactic, for instance, is a big category in describing the difference between active and ergative forms.  I thought that syntax conveyed semantics.  Naive me.

Are there any accusative languages that make a distinction between agent and experiencer the way my Teonaht does with its "split nominative"?

One thing I was thinking of doing was dropping the final vowel off of nouns in both the non-agent subject and the patient; most nouns in Teonaht end in a vowel, as do most vowels:

Lorfa = "wolf."

Lorf rykken.  "I see a wolf."  Ol lorf lokken.  "Me a wolf sees."  Ol lorfa ke.  "A wolf looks at me."     

However, I won't change the definite article to the patient case:

Ol il lorf lokken.  "The wolf sees me."  "Il lorf rykke."  "I look at the wolf."

(In one of these cases, I'm supposed to lose my voice: if the wolf looks at me, I believe!)

Sal
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Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Joćo Ricardo Oliveira 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 5:13 PM
  Subject: Don't mean to offend, but...


  Don't mean to offend, but there are TOO many off-topic posts in this group! I spent some days without email and got 800 messages from CONLANG at once.