On Sat, 24 Oct 1998, Nik Taylor wrote:

> Clinton Moreland-Stringham wrote:
> >         it would be "He-AGT fell" or "He-PAT fell". Either one would work,
> > but with differing degrees of agentness. The first might be used of a
> > skydiver, who fell with premeditation, while the second would just be joe
> > schmoe falling on purpose. Unless y'all can suggest a better difference.
> Yeah, this definitely looks like an active system.  Here's a question,
> for "he fell", if he didn't fall on purpose, but he could have prevented
> it (i.e., it was due to his own carelessness), would it still be
> patient, or would it be agent?

In my books, that is Teonaht grammar, accidents always get the
participatory marking, whether they could have been prevented or not.
_Tandil shallyr li zef kebon_.  From the roof the man fell.  I suppose
anybody could prevent any accident, Nik, but the fact that he did it
accidentally takes the agent out of his action.

Nik, I wonder if you could address the same question I have about Teonaht
("is Teonaht active"?).  In my "What's Teonaht Page" I label T. as
basically an Accusative language with a split Nominative, however, and
"some active tendencies."  Nobody has ever really endorsed this
identification--or condemned it either... or maybe I have an utterly
faulty memory--but it does exactly what Clinton is describing above.
Basically it makes a distinction between agent and participant, or rather,
as you say below, undertaker (yuck!) and undergoer.  So: the man who falls
by accident is structured as a nominative differently than the man who is
a skydiver, or Lucifer who falls to Hell (I'm assuming, like Milton, that
Satan was in charge of his sin against God). This difference is
reflected in the article or determiner, and in the verb:

                Le zef euil takrem elo kebo
                "the man who fell to earth"  (agentive--assuming he
                        took charge of his falling)
                Li zef kebon, li zef nelo kebo
                "the man falls, the man fell" (participatory--assuming
                        he fell by accident).

        And there are two different verbs:  keborem, "fall deliberately,"
        and keboned, "fall accidentally."  In the accidental falling the
        verb ends with an "n," which is a trace of the -ned gerundive

        This makes for a host of perception verbs like:

                kerem, "look, see deliberately,"
                kened, "see passively."

                ouarem,  "listen"
                ouaned,  "hear passively."


        I have terms for these verbs:  vt is "volitional transitive"
        (instead of verb transitive); vi in "volitional intransitive,"
        nt/ni is "non-volitional transitive and instransitive."

What makes it different from an ergative construction is that the object
case NEVER functions as a subject, and that the pronouns don't usually
make a distinction between these two different subjects.

So does this system incorporate "active language" tendencies?  I'll put
verbs up on the web eventually... I'm swamped now, and can't even answer
my lovely, generous, long private emails with like long generous answers.
I'll get to them, y'all!

> Some languages use the terms undergoer and undertaker for such an active
> system.

Sally Caves
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Rin euab ouarjo vopy vytssema tohda uo zef:
ar al aippara brottwav; ad kemban aril yllefo
brotwav fenom; vybbrysan brotwav an; he ad
edirmerem brotwav kronom.

"A cat and a man are not all that different.
Both are on my bed; both lay their head on their
arm; both have mustaches; both purr when they