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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003, Rob Haden wrote:

> I'm curious to see everyone's answers to the following questions:
>
> 1. Does your language(s) distinguish between active ("X breaks Y"), middle
> ("X breaks (apart)"), and passive ("X is broken (by Y)")?

Up until the day before yesterday it (Ciktal) didn't. But after reading
your post, I came up with a system that I like, and makes sense.

> 2. If the answer to #1 was "yes," what method(s) does your language(s) use
> to make some/all of the above distinctions?

Here goes. Since this is a very new system, I encourage everyone to poke
holes in it.

Ciktal is an accusative, subject pro-drop language. Both nominative and
accusative cases are unmarked.

There is no morphological way to distinguish active and passive verbs, but
I have a rule that says:

   a) In active sentences, there cannot be a pronoun in the subject
      position
   b) In passive sentences, there must be a pronoun in the subject
      position

I will illustrate this with the verb root /far-/ "kill".

Active sentence, dropped subject:
\t Dingt       faros.
\m ding   -t   far    -os
\g expert -DEF murder -3SG+PAST
\p n      -Det vt     -3SG
\f She[1] killed the expert.

Passive sentence, subject not dropped:
\t La             dingt       faros.
\m la             ding   -t   far    -os
\g he or she      expert -DEF murder -3SG+PAST
\p 3SG            n      -Det vt     -3SG
\f The expert was killed.

Active sentence, dropped subject:
\t La             faros.
\m la             far    -os
\g he or she      murder -3SG+PAST
\p 3SG            vt     -3SG
\f She was killed.

Note that the passive interpretation of the last sentence is blocked,
because dropped objects are not possible. The NP before the verb must
therefore be the subject.

> 3. What method(s) does your language(s) use to distinguish between basic
> nouns and verbs of the same root (i.e. "a hit" vs. "he hits")?

All roots are either nominal or verbal. I have a small collection of
derivation suffixes and prefixes, though. At the last tally, no affixes
could create verbs from nouns, though.

[1] There is no category for gender in Ciktal, so I write this to avoid
writing "he or she" everywhere.

--
Arnt Richard Johansen                                http://arj.nvg.org/
På 1300-tallet kom tersen. Før og etter det var det meste bare rot, men
så kom Schönberg og ordnet opp. Puh. Endelig litt system. Så klarte Arne
Nordheim å rote det til igjen.                   -- Under Dusken 08/2001