Argument Promotion

The first noun in a clause is the subject, which is prototypically the agent in transitive sentences and the patient in intransitive sentences. However, suffixes can be added to the verb to promote other nouns in the clause, other than the genitive.

There are three such verbal suffixes, which can be stacked, however, once something has been shifted from the subject position, it can’t be promoted again.

Passive

The passive suffix promotes the object. This suffix has the form -’illu when the last element of a verb is monosyllabic, has -ilu replacing the final vowel if the final consonant is geminated, and has -illu replacing the final vowel of the verb elsewise. The old subject is then marked with the ablative case. A sentence with this marker is intransitive. The demoted item is not compulsory, but if it is put in, it is the first ablative-marked noun in the new sentence.

Fu qixa kissa kilatu’i!

.v / Qx / K;s / Klei.

Fu qixa kissa kilatu’i!

2tra pst;dyn fight deer

“You fought a deer!”

Kilatu’i qixa (sacu) kissilu.

.Klei / Qx / sy / K;SW.

Kilatu’i qixa (sacu) kissa-ilu.

deer pst;dyn (2abl) fight-psv

“A deer was fought (by you).”

Ablative

When the final consonant of a verb is geminate, the ablative suffix takes the form -ka, elsewise it is -kka. The old subject is demoted to object, and the old object is demoted to dative. A sentence with this marker is transitive. The first dative-marked noun in the new sentence is the demoted item.

Lulani qixa kalukimilli dasi qasa.

queen pst;dyn abl-king eat fish

“The queen ate a fish because of the king.”

Kimilli qixa kuqasa dasikka lulani.

king pst;dyn dat-fish eat-abp queen.

“The king made the queen eat fish.”

Kimilli qixa (kal·lani) dasilluka qasa.

Kimilli qixa kalu-lulani dasi-illu-ka qasa.

king pst;dyn (abl-queen) eat-psv-abp fish

“The king made the fish get eaten (by the queen).”

Dative

The suffix xa promotes a dative. The old subject is demoted to object, and the old object (if any) is demoted to dative. A sentence with this marker is transitive.

Mulisa ru kuquxi kuffa laqqu.

fool prs;gno dat-mountain give money.

“A fool gives money to the mountain.”

Quxi ru kulaqqu kuffaxa mulisa.

mountain prs;gno dat-money give-dtv fool

“It is to the mountain that fools give money.”

Quxi ru (kalumulisa) kuffiluxa laqqu.

mountain prs;gno (abl-fool) give-psv-dtv money.

“It is to the mountain that money is given (by fools).”

Adposition

To promote a adpositional phrase to subject, prefix the verb with the adposition. The old subject is demoted to object. The old object, if any, is demoted to dative.

Mihu pi nijagaru gupi.

3ani;int pst;sta at-sand sit

“She sat in the sand.”

Jagaru pi nigupi quhu.

sand pst;sta at-sit 3ani.tra

“It was the sand that she sat in.”

Mihu pi nijagaru dasi nukki.

3ani;int pst;sta at-sand eat strawberry

“He was eating a strawberry in the sand.”

Jagaru pi kunukki nidasi quhu.

sand pst;sta dat-strawberry in-eat 3ani;tra.

“It was in the sand that he was eating the strawberry.”