Thanks!Xing wrote:LinguoFranco wrote:One more question.
What exactly is the antipassive voice? I know it is a feature in ergative languages.
I couldn't find much on it through Google, and I appreciate examples of how it works.
Basically, what Micamo said.
English is relatively liberal when it comes to valency-change in verbs. Many verbs can be both transitive and intransitivt, without morphological change. For instance, the verb "eat".
I'm eating the fish.
In some languages (like our made-up lang below) you would have different forms of the word "eat", depending on whether it appears in a transitive or and intransitive clause. The verb "eat", might, for instance in itself always be transitive, and require an object:
ul-eg nak-o tser
1s-ERG fish-ABS eat
"I'm eating the fish."
If you'd like to use it without an object, you might have to use the antipassive form of the verb:
Antipassive voices are especially useful in ergative languages (though they are also found in accusative languages:
"I'm being eaten"
In our little language, in this kind of sentence, the subject might be interpreted as the patient. Or, alternatively, it might be interpreted as a regular transitive sentence, with the subject dropped. So that the meaning might be "I'm being eaten", or something like that. Note that it does not have to be so – it may be different from language to language, and from verb to verb in a single language. But of this "problem" arises in a language, the use of an antipassive voice could help to distinguish between "I'm eating" and "I'm being eaten".
In an ergative language, it might sometimes be required that the subject in in the absolutive case, for various syntactic reasons. (Just like, in an accusative language, there might be syntactic reasons why we would like to put the patient in the nominative case, or "subject position".)
The use of an antipassive voice can also serve other, more pragmatic functions. A passive voice can serve to down-play the role of the agent: The deer was shot (by whom???) In a corresponding, but opposite way, the use of an antipassive voice can serve to emphasise the role of the agent. A sentence like "Peter shoots" might this have pragmatic undertones like Peter is involved in shooting (at what??) – the agents involvement in the action is the important thing; the target of the shooting, or the result, is less important.
So why is the antipassive example ul-o instead of ul-eg? I noticed you have the same case for both "I am eating" and "I am being eaten" -obut why did you say one is ergative while the other is absolutive? So do "kib" in the antipassive example mark the voice while the example below it is the "default" and without such a case marking would be passive by default?