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> X-Accept-Language: en
> Date:         Sun, 19 Sep 1999 12:27:25 -0500
> From: "Thomas R. Wier" <[log in to unmask]>

> (2) Hlax^          suunaadax^  agukux^
>       boy:AbsSg  boat:AbsSg  make:Pres:SgSub
>       "The boy is making a boat."

> (4) Hlam            aguqaa
>      boy:RELSg make:Past:SgObj
>      "The boy made it."

> It looks like all this might have evolved out of an ergative-
> absolutive system, but clearly isn't now, because the relative and
> absolutive can both be used for syntactic subjects of any type of
> verb [...]

The morphology does look very much like that of other Inuit languages,
whose verbal agreement systems are indeed almost perfectly ergative-
absolutive. If Atkan Aleut had kept the same system, your second
example would come out as

> (2') Hlam       suunaadax^  agukaa
>      boy:RelSg  boat:AbsSg  make:Pres:SgSub+SgObj
>      "The boy is making a boat."

(The subject and object suffixes are fused together in the modern
languages, so you can't say which part is which).

Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <[log in to unmask]> (Humour NOT marked)