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
A language in
which subjects of both
intransitive verbs which
agents are treated
subjects and direct
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
divided into those taking agent
subjects and those
others, some lexical verbs
can take either to
denote, for example,
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
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
(In one of these cases, I'm supposed
to lose my voice: if the wolf looks at me, I believe!)
[log in to unmask]
Eskkoat ol ai
sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me,
putting strange, new roses into the world."
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, March 29, 2003 5:13
Subject: Don't mean to offend,
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.