The simplest way I can think of to communicate "The hunter killed the
lion." is like this:

"hunter lion" (speaker bangs fists together in front of himself)
"lion dead" (with the "hunter-fist" smacking the open "lion-hand")

No verbs, one adjective. The second gesture is optional, and for
emphasis only, although it does clarify the fact that the hunter
dominated the lion, rather than that the lion simply dropped dead of
its own accord as the hunter approached.

Either word order works:

"lion hunter" (bangs fists)
"dead lion" (smashes defeated hand with fist)

This is quite a different outcome than:

"hunter lion"
"hunter dead" or even "hunter food"


On Sat, Jan 12, 2013 at 2:05 AM, Nikolay Ivankov <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> >
>> > > Indeed, only very simple utterances are possible in such a
>> > > linear language.  Even simple transitive sentences such as
>> > > "the hunter killed the lion" are beyond the capabilities of
>> > > such a "language":


>> Morphology could also take care of things: "Hunter-ERG lion kill", but that
>> may require somewhat more complex processing than we're thinking about
>> here.
> Though by far not a linguist, I'd assume that ergativity is already a bit
> complicated thing. But hey, the things may also be ruled out by
> activity/stativity.