Quoting Garth Wallace <[log in to unmask]>:

> Peter Bleackley wrote:
> > I have an idea for a language that achieves free word order by inflecting
> > the verb according to whether the subject or object occurs first. In the
> > default form, the following word orders are possible
> > VSO
> > SVO
> > SOV
> >
> > In the marked form, these are possible
> >
> > VOS
> > OVS
> > OSV
> >
> > If the verb is marked, and only one unmarked noun is present, the verb
> > becomes passive.
> >
> > What would the terminology be for such an inflection?
> So, the inflection swaps the positions of the subject and object? Sounds
> like inverse voice.

No, inverse "voice", as traditionally used in Algonkian studies
at any rate, is not a voice at all, but the only way to express
certain kinds of grammatical relations.  In Algonkian languages,
this hierarchy operates something like as follows:

   1, 2 > 3 proximate animate > 3 obviative animate > 3 inanimate

In such languages, the *only* way to say that a 3 obv, say, is
acting on a first, second, or third prox is to use the inverse
verb marking.  Otherwise, a direct marker shows that the actants
are behaving according to (rather than contrary to) the way the
hierarchy predicts.  In Meskwaki, for example:

   "I look at him/her/it"
   (acting acc. to hierarchy)

   "He looks at me"
   (acting contrary to hierarchy)

The fact that this is the regular manner of grammatical
relations, and not some kind of unusual obligatory passive
construction, is proven by several kinds of anaphoric evidence
that I won't go into here.  (I must note that in some Algonkian
languages, such as Ojibwe, the inverse *has* become a passive, but
this is not the case in Meskwaki, and presumably not the case
in Proto-Algonkian.)

Thomas Wier            "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally,
Dept. of Linguistics    because our secret police don't get it right
University of Chicago   half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of
1010 E. 59th Street     Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter.
Chicago, IL 60637