I've been working on my conlang Minhast for some time now. When I posted my first contribution, the major portion of the grammar had already been written (easy to do, I cut and pasted from my old conlang site to this wiki). Had some interesting stuff in it, like polysyntheticism, applicative formation, and antipassivation. Until that point in time, nobody had these features in their conlangs.
Something interesting happened just a couple of months ago, Dec. 12 2010 to be exact. One of the conlangers on this wiki, a long-time member whose language had been one of the first languages on this wiki, made a major revision of his language. Applicatives suddenly appeared in his verbs, along with antipassives. His language had been a nominative-accusative language since 2007, and now it suddenly became a tripartite system, with a new Ergative case to supplement the nominative and accusative cases in his nominal system. Also coincidentally, he suddenly described his language as now polysynthetic.
Another thing: he describes the Antipassive as being a "Focus on the Agent". I'm also a little bit surprised by this statement. Anyone who knows a thing about Ergativity knows that Antipassives focus on the Absolutive NP, which may or may not be an Agent. An example where an antipassivized sentence puts a focus on a non-Agent may be found in the following example, where an Instrumental oblique argument hasb has been promoted into a derived Absolutive argument. This example comes from Ilokano, one of the Philippine languages: "Pagsuratmo dayta nga lapis iti naganna" - "Write his name with that pencil." Pencil ("ti lapis") is the Absolutive argument, having been promoted from instrumental oblique status to Absolutive status with the instrumental applicative pag- affix.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. I just finished a section on Pivots and another section on the role of how applicatives alter argument structure. So far, no similar discussion has appeared in his pages as of this writing (Jan 30, 2011). I hope he understands that the new affixes on his verbs and nouns will impact on the argument structure of his existing examples and sample texts.
Hmmmm....I'm wondering when I'll be seeing Pivots and Applicative Formation appear on his pages too.
Anyar 21:57, January 30, 2011 (UTC)Anyar