Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sargaĺk: Habitual Aspect Marker on Noun Cases

In certain constructions, the habitual aspect marker in Sargaĺk can appear on nouns in locative cases (or in the comitative cases). At times, these are zero-derived verbs, at times, they are more like regular nouns.

The verbal uses, however, differ from regular verbs in that the case marker occupies the normal person congruence spot. Sargaĺk is still very much pro-drop for subjects, so even these verbs may lack explicit subjects.

A very common construction uses the comitative/instrumental. With animate nouns, it signifies being with someone - even non-habitually. The habitual marker there mainly works as a derivative thing:
to be with one's family
With inanimates, it can signify repeated use of an instrument, e.g.
to hammer ((away) at)

The meaning of forms derived using the various locative plurals may sometimes be somewhat unpredictable:
brother's wifehabituallative plural
'to be (romantically) obsessed with one's sister-in-law'
This particular example can be used with personal names or titles as well as words such as the different types of siblings-in-law and such. It's generally quite a condescending construction. The plural suffix here is part of the construction - with the singular case suffix -rne it would simply signify 'to habitually go to' or 'to habitually be, as per X's opinion'. The latter meaning generally takes an adjective too. 
nen morgos sərnarəvarne
I dumb [...]
my sister-in-law often thinks I am dumb

Oftentimes, the meaning is rather predictable:
k'orme -va -mime
brother -habitual -familiar comitative
'to collaborate with one's brother' (often with an infinitive)

Mostly, nouns referring to locations - both proper nouns and regular nouns - will simply signify the subject generally  being there, coming from there or going there habitually.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Ćwarmin Family Universal

The Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär family has a morphological universal that might be of some interest: there is a particular structure to nouns derived from verbs.

The structure is essentially as follows:
The significance of this is that instrumental nouns (opener, key, etc) are derived from the agentive form (runner, builder, etc), and locative forms (diner, etc) are derived from patientive forms. The adjutative form (a 'helper' noun with rather varying meanings) and the abstract form are less closely aligned to the agentive and patientive forms - adjutatives almost always, however, are embedded in one or the other, whereas abstract nouns can be more closely related to infinitives, the verb stem or the present tense stem.

One interesting thing with this is that it also applies to suppletive forms. We find that the verbs 'hunt' in Dagurib has a suppletive agentive form:
kinhes (to hunt, infinitive): kinhird (prey) but taʊgab (hunter)
The locative form derives from kinhird (kinhireŋi), but the bow derives from taʊgab - taʊgavlʊk. A similar phenomenon applies throughout the Ćwarmin-Ŋʒädär family. Thus, the agentive of 'to fish' is suppletive in Ćwarmin:
sirpən (to fish, infinitive): sirpist (a catch), but źaŋk (a fisherman)
A good spot for placing one's nets is sirpisəmi, but the tool for repairing the net is a źaŋkasta.

The lack of an adjutative implication might seem to justify leaving it out of the graph altogether, there are some interesting things that justify keeping it. The Dagurib language, for instance, permits productive switching of the adjutative between agentive- and patientive-derived forms with slight difference in meaning, e.g.
malc.ab.oš = co-traveller
malc.ʊrd.oš = enslaved co-traveller
Mostly, the "patientive adjutative" will be less animate than the agentive adjutative, but the pair given above is one out of many exceptions.

In Ŋʒädär, a number of adjutative nouns are derived from the patientive form, although a majority derive from the agentive. The patientive adjutative seems to be more likely to appear with intransitive verbs than with transitive, but it's a minority for both.

In most ĆŊ languages, there are at least traces of the original system where the location and instrument suffix are identical, the difference being whether the intervening morpheme is patientive or agentive.For instance, we have Ćwarmin
toŋovuk - the smith's sledgehammer
toŋluk - the forge
or in Ŋʒädär 
swokaupo - the clergyman's ceremonial stick
swokurpo - the temple

Differentiation has later occurred, though, and different languages have come up with different suffixes to produce these forms, often reduced forms of words like 'thing' or 'place' or 'tool' or 'stone'. 'Stone', funny enough, appears for 'tool' in some ĆŊ languages, and for 'place' in some others, in part due to the importance of stones as markers of property in some areas.

In Ćwarmin, the pseudo-participles are closely related to the agentive and patientive noun forms. This does not necessarily hold for other ĆŊ languages.

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Look at the Drafts Folder!

A terrible habit of mine when it comes to writing, is that I produce a lot of stuff that ends up sitting in the drafts folder forever. This blog is not the worst example of that - somerationalism has the drafts folder contain about 2/3s of the posts that I've written this far. For this blog, it's closer to 1/8.

The reason the stuff ends up sitting there is basically that I run out of ideas what to do with it, and keep it for future editing. Let's go and have a look at some of the posts that might one day come out of their dark cocoons.

I set out by actually deleting a few that are just a title without any content. Among these we find 'adverbs as verbs'. I remember thinking about moving a lot of the functionality of adverbs in European languages to more verb-like structures, but I didn't really get inspired enough to develop the idea much further. 

Another post that has an interesting concept behind it is "Details #110-#120: A Phonology (Done Right)". The title is intentionally a bit exaggerated, but it reflects my feeling that many conlangers simply do not go that deep into phonology. I don't mean to say that the phonemes and distinctions conlangers use are boring or anything - I mean to say that the descriptions simply show lack of familiarity with the kind of work that phonologists and phoneticians do. I also wanted to include some kind of reflections on writing fictional empirical research results. I think there are reasonable constraints on what makes sense in a naturalistic conlang, at least, constraints that rest on epistemological foundations. Yes, as conlangers we're the ultimate arbiter of what goes in our language, but if we want to pretend we're doing realism, we also need to at least familiarize ourselves with empiricism as it relates to language.

Needless to say, the numbers in the range for the phonology post, if it ever gets finished, have to be adjusted a bit.

Then we find A Review: Possible and Probable Languages. Probably going to be finished next year. Beyond that there's A Language Inspired by a Post at Badconlangingideas. This is a post where I keep adding ideas for a swing-dance based language. However, I have not really gotten into any depth with it yet, although my fascination for both linguistics and the lindy hop should be a fertile ground for it. I keep it around as a record-keeping thing.

Three posts on Barxaw, one from before it even had a name occur. One is a Table of Contents that links all the Barxaw posts, and sets out a main plan for new posts, essentially - a thing I probably should do with regards to my other major projects as well.

Some Ideas for Scripts. I have not posted much about scripts in general here, but that is basically a repository for ideas regarding writing systems that might germinate into a proper post some day. The sole idea in there right now basically proposes a scripts the writing or reading (or both) of which is a P-complete task.

Detail #141: Some Tweaks on Definiteness. Pretty much what it says on the label - an attempt at tweaking definiteness with regards to how it works in English. A look at definiteness in other languages. Other ideas occurred to me at the time, and so it didn't get much attention for a while.

A thing about verbal subordination in Dairwueh.

Several posts about teaching your child a conlang, with lots of sources. I am still reading research regarding first language acquisition and bilinguality, though, and making notes, so those might take a while.

That's but a sample, there's about 70 posts there.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Bryatesle: Parameters of Pro-drop

Bryatesle permits pro-drop both for subjects and objects. However, the pro-drop seems to adhere to certain principles. The subject and the object seem to have rather opposite principles, however.

Subject drop is possible under some circumstances. The main circumstance in which it occurs is when all these conditions are filled:
  • the subject is the discourse topic
  • it is definite and individuated
  • it has had an explicit realization as a noun that also was the subject of the recentmost finite verb to have an explicitly stated subject
Another situation where pro-drop is permitted is:
  • the subject is explicitly present with the leftmost verb in a clause with a subordinate verb, or is explicitly present with the non-subordinate verb regardless whether it is the leftmost or rightmost. In such a clause, any other verb with the same subject may entirely drop any realization of the subject.

 The object has a slightly different distribution of permissible omissions. Any of the following conditions suffice:
  • a discourse topic that is an object as well as an 'embedded subject' (thus, essentially, a discourse topic that would be having the secondary subject case if it were explicit). Thus "so-and-so forced X[discourse topic] sell the house" would come out as "so-and-so forced sell the house"
  • a verb that cannot be intransitive, when there's a clear "discourse object" that also is the object of that verb, or when the discourse topic is the object of the verb.
  • a verb that cannot be intransitive, and is 'semi-coordinated' with a previous verb that had an object. This semi-coordination generally takes the form of adverbials implying simultaneity, sequentiality, resumption or other causal connections.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Large Scale Conlanging: An Areal Tendency

Consider the correlation between definiteness and direct objects. Granted, topics and subjects too have a similar and probably stronger correlation with definites, but let's disregard that for now. Objects, unlike subjects, tend to be more marked than subjects, which is what we want for this areal tendency.

Have object marking tend to become definiteness marking for subjects as well as objects over time. How this would work out for case-marking is obvious. The challenge might rather appear in considering how a language that mostly does mark for object and subject congruence on the verbs would develop within this tendency.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Ćwarmin: Some Verb Morphemes and 'Mandatorily Suffixed Verbs'

There are a bunch of morphemes that can be used with verbs to mark a variety of meanings. Some of these interact with object definiteness in what exact meanings they convey. Parentheses at onsets give parts that can be left out due to morphophonological processes with regards to the verb root, parentheses at the other end are parts that are left off to form the new verb root.

The suffix -(v)ara-/-(v)ərə- signifies attempting to do something. Thus kuvara means 'attempt to open', lesivərə means 'attempt to catch fish', śaŋikara means 'attempt to appear' (if it has a complement) or 'attempt to impress' (if it only has a recipient).

The suffix -iŋe- or -uŋo- signifies doing something clumsily or without any knowledge as to how to do it. Thus kuvuŋo would signify attempting to open something very clumsily.

-um(u)- or -im(i)- suggests doing something very lightly or gracefully or easily.

-osos(o)-, -esəs(e)- implies doing something very productively. -ris- and -rus- mark doing something over a long span of time. -nimin- and -numun- signify struggling to complete something.

-sesk(e)- and -sosk(o)- signify doing something unintentionally, and -kinś(i)- and -kuns(u)- signify doing something badly.

There are a handful of verbs that can only appear with some set of these and never without such a suffix. The root *Karća- would signify 'aim', but it always has some suffix. Often -ara, since aiming is an attempt. However, a bad aim is also permitted - karćuŋo. Karćumu signifies aiming well, and karćanumun, with a definite object signifies repeated aiming at a goal; when intransitive or with an indefinite object it signifies habitually missing.

Another verb is *merk?-, improve. It only ever appears with -vərə (mergvərə), -imi (merćimi), -esəse (merkesəse) and -sesk(e)- (meskeske, due to metathesis). The verb 'merkiŋe' is attested in one regular saying - simply stated 'inki (inkic) merkiŋi' - no one improves (things) by accident. This is used as an expression that exhorts to learning skills.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dairwueh Conjunctions

Dairwueh is a typological oddity in the region for having a relatively large number of conjunctions. They serve a variety of functions.

Ke, -k corresponds to 'and'. Can be suffixed as -k, but also put between NPs or VPs in the full form.

Related forms:
keta: also, including, as well as

Sim, basically corresponds to 'if', but is also used to list options: do you want if this, if that, if these, if those... It pre

Simta is used for indirect questions.

'Bale' has been mentioned already in the context of reciprocals in Dairwueh.

Ule signifies 'or', and basically presents two options that might be true (if VPs, both verbs may be irrealis, if NPs, the verb they are arguments of is likely to be irrealis).

Iske signifies 'and then', and is commonly used to list realis statements.

isketa signifies that there is some surprise to the following clause.

Siuke is as iske, but with irrealis VPs.

Uleke signifies 'even though, although, though, albeit', and thus implies that the main phrase is somewhat contradictory to what would be expected.

In comparison, Bryatelse has words for and, or, if, and a general 'subordinate conjunction'.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Detail #245: Verbs as Pragmatic Markers

Consider the pragmatic use of the English word 'certain' – i.e. 'A certain woman came to the shop yesterday and asked for ...'. In this case, 'a certain' signals that the man will reappear in the discourse, and that he's probably rather significant for the whole speech act – he's a sort of discourse topic. From this point on, references to this 'certain woman' will be definite (or even pronominal).

Like English, Finnish does the same with an adjective (or borderline determiner), eräs. In Swedish, it's not unusual for a noun with similar properties with regards to the context to be introduced by an existential construction with det as a sort of extra empty formal subject:
det kom en kvinna till affären igår och frågade efter ...
it came a woman to store-DEF yesterday and asked for ...
This is not the only time det can be used as a formal subject, especially not with existential verbs - and this is not the only time existential verbs are used. However, this is one circumstance in which it's used. Of course, existential verbs are exclusively intransitive in Swedish, (and in most languages), so this restricts some stuff. However, let's come up with a twist!

Let's entirely extract the thing that identifies that we're introducing a discourse topic from the noun phrase and make a verb whose sole function is to signal 'hey, the subject is significant'. Let's use certain as a verb in the glosses.
a woman certains. she came to the store yesterday and asked for ...
This seems a bit clunky. So, let's turn certain into an auxiliary!
a woman certained come to the store yesterday and ask for ...
After this first sentence, there's no need to use that verb until we establish a new discourse topic. However, if the discussion has gotten a bit lost, the verb can be used with the right congruence and with a dropped subject to recall that the discourse topic indeed is this referent.

What if he is not the subject? Well, voice stuff could help there, but I am also partial to resumptive pronouns. 
a man certained police catch him yesterday. 
Of course, this pronoun might seem rather useless in the first or second person, generally speaking, so maybe first and second person markers in the subject spot of it would signify something along the lines of the topic being the object (or oblique argument) with first or second person subjects? Maybe passives have a special meaning with that verb, whereby first or second person passives on it signify that the topic acted on the first or second person.
a man was-1sg certained beat at chess yesterday
man certain-1sg-pass beat.inf at chess yesterday
a certain man beat me at chess yesterday

This would create an interesting way of referring to the discourse topic by "pronoun-like verbs" at times, whereas other nouns would be referred to by "noun-like pronouns" as well as "pronoun-like suffixes". What makes 'certain' be verbal in this, of course, is the suffixes it can take and its syntactical distribution as compared to other verbs and particularly auxiliary verbs in the language.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Few Observations about Grammatical Voice

I've noticed that some conlangers seem to think that grammatical voices basically only serve one purpose: omitting the subject. This somehow reduces the passive to serving as a convoluted way of saying 'someone did something to X'. 

Now, it would be lying to say that that is not part of what passives enable us to do, but a variety of languages use passives to a number of effects, and presenting a construction with an indefinite pronoun (i.e. 'someone') as the subject as a substitute seems to me to underestimate the amount of things that go on with the passive. Sure, it's a possible solution, and your language might well even parse the 'someone verbed X' construction as a legit passive with all the things that go along with a passive - the Germanic 'man' pronoun and the Finnish -taan passive are pretty close to that in some senses.

However, there are other uses for the passive beyond omitting the agent. In languages that are subject-prominent (as opposed to topic-prominent), the subject often has a very special pragmatic role. The subject, as it were, often correlates with some kind of 'topic of discourse'. So, a passive enables maintaining (and emphasizing) that particular relation: a patient that is felt to be important enough to be stated as the subject rather than object of its verb seems to convey the 'topic of discourse' thing pretty well - and study of how the passive is used would show that oftentimes, the subject of a passive verb indeed is topic not only of its clause, but of some part of the discourse.

Beyond this, we have languages with restrictions in their availability-hierarchies: comparing objects to objects might not be permitted (i.e. "I like sorbet more than (I like) parfait" would be forbidden, while "I like sorbet more than Sheryl (likes it)" would be possible) or, the distinction might be unclear due to fixed case marking on the standard of comparison, and passivization might help making it clear that the compared things are patients, rather than agents (in the case of more equal-status nouns, e.g. 'I like Edith Piaf more than Brigitte Bardot' - in this case, it might be unclear whether Brigitte Bardot is less liked or less liking!). More obviously, we have relativization-hierarchies: there are languages that permit relativization of subjects, but not of objects. Having a passive form helps with that, and other voices can help for things deeper in that hierarchy. 

A number of languages have verb forms that encode whether the subject is the same as that of the previous verb - so-called switch reference languages. Using the passive (or other voices) can permit for having same subjects for a longer stretch, since if some noun is the topic of discourse, it is likely to appear in most clauses - and probably in most of them as agent or other similar theta-role, but sometimes it might appear as a patient as well (and probably, in falling order of likelihood, various more oblique roles), and then voices can enable avoiding to have 'different subject' markers appear all that often, and the referent of the 'same subject' marker is kept constant, making it easier to parse an utterance.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Detail #244: Verbs of Movement, Pseudoreflexives and Shenanigans therewith

Many languages have reflexives originating with body-parts, such as 'head', 'body', or even 'bone' or the somewhat  "not quite there" 'soul'. 

Now, consider how many languages have many intransitive verbs of movement formed by the same pattern as reflexive verbs, c.f. Swedish röra sig, flytta sig.

Now, let's imagine that verbs of movement  take particular body-parts instead of the 'generic reflexive' body part: walk legs, jump hands (in the case of jumping forward, when the hands are flung back), rise head. Dance ass.

However, the meaning of some might have evolved over time so the connection between the body part and the verb isn't all that obvious any longer: turn belly, creep hands, lie face (from a verb meaning 'to direct upwards', and refers, of course, to lying on one's back).

Friday, December 11, 2015

Detail #243: Grammaticalized Greetedness-Marker

Consider a language mostly spoken by people in rather small communities. Let's imagine that somehow, a distinction has appeared whereby persons' names, as well as possibly pronouns referring to people, are marked for whether you have greeted that person that day yet.

For dead people you are related to, small acts of ancestor worship are the dividing line, instead.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Detail #242: Tribal Name Morphology in a Harshly Conflict-ridden Area

Consider a language that marks names of tribes as to whether they are considered enemies or not at the time being. The markers are derivative, and the derived nouns reside in different parts of the noun hierarchy (or can have different cases on them, i.e. the 'enemy' version might have some case restrictions).

Consider, for instance, a restriction whereby an enemy cannot be the recipient or beneficiary of an act carried out by a non-enemy. Or maybe more generally that enemies cannot be subject of verbs with beneficiaries at all, or maybe enemies cannot be beneficiaries. Any one of those might be of some interest.

These, however, lead to the need for voice constructions that permit those meanings to be expressed.

Another thing that is needed is ways of expressing that some group now have become or ceased to be enemies, and this could conceivably be done in some interesting ways - consider, for instance, deriving these verbs from the tribe names! Thus the template "tribename+transition suffix+verbalizer suffix" would give a personless verb expressing such a transition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Dairwueh Comparison: A Middle Ground between Fixed Case and Derived Case

I previously described the Dairwueh comparison construction very shortly. If we compare noun1 to noun2 with regards to some adjective, we get 
noun1.nom is adjective-bar noun2.gen
But this method only works when comparing subjects. It also happens at adverbial comparisons of this type:
Galdun darav-Ø xoge-bar-s Eker-at
Galdun.nom work-3sg hard-er-advl Eker.gen
Galdun works harder than Eker
The noun that is compared to can also be placed directly after the verb, if the comparative is an adverbial.
Another construction that occurs is this:
Galdun gadek-Ø sondebre bare Eker-at
Galdun.nom have-3sg big-er.neut.nom house.neut.nom Eker.gen
Galdun has a bigger house than Eker
These adjectives can pertain to any noun phrase in the clause. Comparing non-subjects, however, is a tad more complicated. Noun2 still needs to be genitive, and will appear directly after the verb. Noun1 will be followed by the conjunction bale, after which a pronoun that agrees in gender with noun2 appears, and is of the same case as Noun1. A few exceptions to this exists, though, pairs such as 'today than tomorrow', 'tomorrow than today', 'here than there', 'there than here', words that still don't exist in the vocabulary.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Detail #241: A Different Comparison System

Apparently, there are only a few ways of comparing degrees for different referents in the world. Wals has a bunch of information on this.

How about a comparative based on causatives (or passive causatives). Let's assume the language has a specific marking for stimuluses. Now, we could have:
noun1 causes noun2 to seem|appear|... adjective
However, this obviously makes noun2 less central from an information structure point of view. So, we could go and topicalize noun2, or maybe use some passivized form (but perhaps retain the stimulus marking?) Also, the adjective could well be verbalized, or the verb might just be a causative copula. 
noun1 causes.pass noun2.acc adjective = noun1 makes noun2 adjective

noun1 causes noun2.[stimulus] adjective = noun1 makes noun2 appear adjective = noun2 is adjectiver than noun1
noun2.[stimulus] caused by noun1 adjective = noun2 is caused to appear adjective by noun1 = noun2 is adjectiver than noun1
The stimulus-marking makes any explicit 'appear'-like verb superfluous. Such a marking could also be reasonable on the adjective instead, i.e. the adjective marks perception rather than objective quality (or it marks a quality that attracts the attentions) – then 'real' causatives and comparison-causatives would be distinguished by whether the adjective had such a marking.

Such an adjectival marking, to some extent, actually exists in Finnic languages, but is triggered by verbs of perception. (It's a case meaning 'from', so e.g. 'something tastes from X').

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Detail 240: A Place to Sneak Ergativity into an SAE Language

Here, SAE signifies "Standard Average European". There is one position where, in quite a few SAE languages, oblique forms of (implicit) subjects tend to appear - at least in colloquial varieties.

This is derided by prescriptivists in several such languages, though. The situation is 'than X'. Consider the following examples:
  • he is faster than I
    • he is faster than me
    • he is faster than I am
  • I like her better than I like him
    • I like her better than him
  • I like her better than he does
    • I like her better than him (in some colloquial varieties, this is possible)
Now, the transitive case gets ambiguous, but the intransitive situation is quite obvious. Since it seems SAE disprefers nominatives after prepositions, it wouldn't be very surprising if the oblique were used as often as possible. However, it could be possible that the transitive situation with comparison is felt to be too ambiguous, and the case marking would permit nominative after 'than'-like markers. So, the intransitive subject and the transitive subject of an implicit verb in a comparison would be marked in the object case, whereas the transitive subject in the same position would be marked with a nominative, thus begetting an ergative pattern!

However, there's another thing with regards to this type of comparison-structure that I have been thinking of: do 'than'-like comparisons have the same restrictions as the relativization accessibility hierarchy? Are there languages with than-comparatives that don't permit, say, recipients, locations and so on to be compared, but do permit subjects and objects?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Detail #239: An Isogloss of Demonstrative Pronoun Usage

Consider the situation where you are talking to something and referring to a thing in their hand; in some languages, this easily could be that thing, while in some this thing might be a reasonable way of referring to it.

So, have a language where there's a very clear isogloss with regards to that. Also, when contrasting things in your own hands vs. things in the hands of the person you're speaking to, make the distinction in some other way - person congruence on demonstratives, perhaps?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Detail #238: Onwards with #237, into 'odd subjects and objects'

Let us consider a noun class system where a variety of nouns have 'typical' non-subjectlike associated roles, e.g. members of one class are likely to be used as instruments (mainly tools), members of another are likely to be locations (mainly places, buildings, and certain actions that take place in specific places), members of a third class are likely to be direct objects (inanimate non-tools), and members of one class are likely to be time-spans or directions (day, downriver (as a noun), upriver (likewise), south, north, downwind (as a noun), etc).

Now, each of these noun classes lacks a classical nominative - they do have an unmarked form though, it's just that it's half-nominative half-whatever the class is associated with (instrumental, accusative, lative, locative, ...) - and the same goes for the object case. They can be parsed as subjects (or for the object case, as objects), indeed, but can also be parsed as instrumentals (for the first example), locations (for the second example), direct objects (...), or time-spans or directions (...)

All other nouns can be marked using cases to have these roles (except that time-spans may be somewhat restricted, although 'until X (arrives|finishes)' can be an interpretation, as well as 'for X's reign|presence|as long as X keeps doing whatever he's doing' could be meaningful interpretations there as well. 

So, the verb can take congruence with the noun in the pseudo-nominative, and if the noun is the topic, subject agreement is necessarily congruent with that noun's class. These nouns therefore permit for unmarked pseudo-circumstantial voice whenever they're present or in topic position. When they're direct objects, they permit for unmarked pseudo-applicative voices. Any 'real' agent or patient of the verb would be forced to be oblique.

So, a verb voice system with no verbal voice marking, voice marking instead being entirely reliant on the noun classes of the noun that the verb agrees with, or the noun in the direct object slot - however, with the extra challenge that these nouns could also be regular subjects or direct objects. Disambiguating such regular subjects and objects can be done by making them oblique, though, although this approach must be used sparingly or the language would turn the oblique markings into the 'real nominative' and 'real accusative'.

One fun thing is that this would permit really strange combinations of applicative and circumstantial, such as hammer strikes day: there is hitting with the hammer for the duration of the day, day strikes hammer: for the duration of the day there is hitting with the hammer.

Of course, one could also imagine classes that have different meanings when in subject position and when in object position - or maybe some nouns reside on the edge of one class, with one foot in another.