I've come up with a morphosyntactic system for a conlang I'm working on, and I figured I'd tell it in here to see 1) what pplz think and 2) if it has any natlang precedent. Here goes:
The alignment could overall be considered as active, particularly Split-S: S = A for certain intransitive verbs, and S = P for others. So, morphosyntactically, the conlang (unnamed of now) distinguishes between A and P, S falling in line with either depending upon the verb. The distinction between A and P is determined by word order: The word order of a clause is always AVP, V being the verb.
There's a bit of a twist to all of this. Nouns in my conlang can be classified as either animate or inanimate. This is significant to morphosyntactic alignment because animate nouns are considered be inherently A and inanimate nouns are considered to be inherently P. Example:
Kó lene yarkhe
man wash knife
"The man is washing the knife"
In this sentence, animate noun kó is the agent (A), and inanimate noun yarkhe is the patient (P). This is not only apparent in word order, but from the fact that animate nouns are inherently agents and inanimate nouns are inherently patients. Now, this seems to be illogical: there are definitely instances where an animate noun is the patient, and there are obviously instances where an inanimate noun is the agent. This is where case marking comes in. If an animate noun is used as a patient, it receives the suffix -tl (or its allomorph -ll). Ex:
Tloso mállá kóll
God create-PERF man-CASE
"God created the man"
If an inanimate noun is used an agent, it takes the same suffix -tl/ll. Ex:
Yarkhetl voimá χintxa
knife-CASE cut-PERF bark
"The knife cut the bark"
Both of these suffixes can be used in one sentence if both nouns do not follow their inherent roles. Ex:
Yarkhetl voimá kóll
knife-CASE cut-PERF man-CASE
"The knife cut the man"
Recall that the conlang equates the subject (S) with either the agent or patient depending upon the verb. In the conlang, the verb phos - "to go" equates subject with agent, and the verb íkx - "to sneeze" equates subject with patient. Thus, the -tl suffix may be used with these intransitive verbs if nouns do not follow their inherent roles, like with transitive verbs. Examples:
"The knife went"
"The man sneezed"
I've been glossing the suffix as "CASE" as I don't know what to call it. Perhaps "inverse case"? The idea is akin to inverse number, whereby nouns have inherent numbers based on animacy, and a suffix is employed to denote that it has the opposite number (or one of the opposites). I don't want it to be confused with direct/inverse verb morphology, which is different, although I can see some parallels in terms of expected roles and what-not.
I haven't determined what I want to do in ditransitive clauses, but I should have that determined soon. Perhaps I think up something else interesting.
Last edited by The Unseen on Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.