Questions tagged [ergativity]

Similar syntactic marking or usage of transitive objects and intransitive subjects.

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1answer
183 views

Are all “Ergative Languages” split-ergative?

I've noticed that in a lot of examples of "ergative languages," there is some piece of the language that does not fit the pattern we call "ergativity." For example, Basque does not mark ergative case ...
2
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1answer
68 views

Configurational assignment of accusative case?

I'm an undergraduate linguistics student, and I'm currently reading this chapter by Coon & Preminger (2015) (http://ling.umd.edu/assets/publications/Coon-Preminger-17-SplitErgativity.pdf), which ...
4
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1answer
217 views

Do different alignments restrict what kind of word order a language can have?

I've read somewhere that all known ergative languages are either verb-initial, or verb-final. I find this surprising, but I don't know of any counter-examples. I've seen plenty of nominative ...
2
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1answer
731 views

What is ''syntactic behavior"?

According to my professor's notes, we have syntactic ergativity when the arguments P and S display the same syntactic behavior. But how is the term "syntactic behavior" defined?
2
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2answers
237 views

About the universality of the notion of subject and the description of ergativity

A very common description of ergativity defines it as a morphosyntactic alignment where the intransitive subject follows a pattern similar to the object and dissimilar from the transitive subject --- ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Accusative or ergative language?

we started the topic ergative languages. I am very confused how I could determine whether a language is an accusative or an ergative language. Is there some sort of analysis I could use to get ...
0
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1answer
231 views

What motivated the terms 'ergative' and 'absolutive'?

Source: p 195, Understanding Syntax (4 ed, 2014) by Prof. Maggie Tallerman PhD in Linguistics (U. Hull) ERGATIVE is the case of A – the subject of transitive verbs. ABSOLUTIVE is the case of both ...
2
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1answer
185 views

Is English of neutral or accusative alignment in verbal person marking?

On WALS' chapter on verbal person marking alignment, it classifies English as having accusative alignment. Later on it discusses a 'restricted' alignment split between first and second person and ...
5
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2answers
368 views

Is the agent in an ergative language a subject or an object?

Imagine a language with PVA/APV dominant word order and SV in intransitive clauses. We see that it's tightly PV and SV whereas both VA and AV are possible. We also know that P and S are both ...
3
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0answers
216 views

Why might ergativity be correlated with polypersonal agreement?

The Wikipedia article on polypersonal agreement states that it "has also been correlated with ergativity." This is certainly true of Basque, the only ergative language I have any familiarity with. ...
3
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1answer
360 views

Can a language have both nominative/accusative and ergative/absolutive syntactic systems in its syntactic structure?

These examples are from Kui, a Trans New Guinean language spoken on Alor island, Indonesia. (1) nya yai umasingin u=ga=sam u=ga=bur=i. 1pl.Sub v. n. appl=3sg....
5
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3answers
4k views

Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them

I know what ergative verb is - Consider the following sentences - I opened the door. The door was opened (by me). The door opened. The verb open is a transitive verb in sentence #1, and sentence #...
2
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2answers
509 views

Accusative vs Ergative

In terms of syntactic structure, from the below grammar can we conclude that English is accusative language, not ergative. S --> NP VP VPtv --> Vtv NP VPiv --> Viv By intuition, I ...
7
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1answer
427 views

Constituent Order and Alignment

Seeing What might "S/A-V-O" and "A/S-V-O" mean? reminded me of something I've wondered at various points in the past. I'm familiar with the different clause constituent orders (SVO,...
2
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1answer
119 views

Why do certain verbs not accept the ergative schema whereas they accept the mediopassive (middle) one?

Ex : They scared me / I scare easily / but not * I scared last night. My first question was not ask properly so I tried again.
4
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0answers
358 views

Is there any evidence pro/contra Du Bois' Preferred Argument Structure (ergative patterning in discourse)?

In The Discourse Basis of Ergativity published in Language in 1987, John W. Du Bois proposed a theory which stated that (p. 850) [universally] the distribution of new information vs. old ...
3
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1answer
332 views

Across ergative languages, is there a case that typically marks arguments in copular & existential clauses?

Across ergative languages, is there a case that typically marks the arguments in copular & existential clauses? For example, in sentences that translate as "The beetle is red" and "There is a ...
3
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1answer
532 views

Why do people use the term “ergative language”?

From what I've read, a lot of languages that have nominative-accusative marking have only this type of marking. However, languages that have ergative-absolutive marking in some contexts typically ...
6
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2answers
351 views

Is it okay that Ergative case be unmarked?

I found a language of Celebes island in Indonesia, its name is Mongondow (mog). It has a Phillipine's Alignment morphosyntactic which it has combination of Accusative and Ergative languages. The word ...
6
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2answers
230 views

How does aspect condition an ergative split?

I've never heard of a natural language that has ergative-absolutive marking alone. From what I've read, languages with said marking also have nominative-accusative marking, with the choice or "split"...