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6 votes

What's the difference between nominative and absolutive case?

Because they behave differently, and contrast with different things. In a language like Hittite, some nouns have one case that's used any time it's the subject of a verb, and one case that's used any ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

When and by whom were the terms 'ergative case' and 'absolutive case' coined?

Throwing the term ergative and Ergativ on Google book search I find a salient citation from 1894 in Zeitschrift für Völkerkunde von den Kasus unterscheidet Taplin in den südaustralischen Sprachen ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
5 votes

What is ''syntactic behavior"?

The short answer is that there's no exact answer. There is no clear cross-linguistic definition of what a 'word' is, and therefore no real distinction between syntax and morphology. Indeed, there are ...
WavesWashSands's user avatar
5 votes

What's the difference between nominative and absolutive case?

Actually, considering the absolutive case as different from nominative is a rather modern development. We speak of a nominative case when the language in question has nominative-accusative alignment ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
4 votes

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

As stated in the Intro Syntax textbook, the statement is biased; or, if you prefer, it's a category error. In a case system that uses Ergative and Absolutive case names, there is no such thing as a ...
jlawler's user avatar
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3 votes

Can ergative languages have a passive construction?

In general, it is possible for ergative languages to have passive constructions. WALS allows you to search for combinations of properties, so if you do this: https://wals.info/combinations/107A_98A?...
Alazon's user avatar
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3 votes

On a question in regards to Ergativity

To have or any verb expressing possession is not a good verb to demonstrate ergativity, because many language (both nominative/accusative languages and ergative languages) have constructions like this ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes

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

Greenberg's universal #38 ("Where there is a case system, the only case which ever has only zero allomorphs is the one which includes among its meanings that of the subject of the intransitive verb") ...
Darkgamma's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Accusative or ergative language?

Simplifying things a bit: Take a sample of simple sentences where the verb is transitive, i. e. you can recognize a subject and an object. Note how the language marks which is the subject and which ...
pablodf76's user avatar
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3 votes

Accusative or ergative language?

The first step is finding some sort of case marking. In this language, do "I like him" and "he likes me" use the same words, just in a different order? Or are any of the words themselves changed, like ...
Draconis's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

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

in the end it seems to me that the definition of ergativity in terms of intransitive/transitive subject and object is hardly satisfying and looks either circular or ethnocentrist. So why is it still ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Configurational assignment of accusative case?

Some X' theories have a layer above V that they call v ("little-v," because it was originally conceived for dealing with voice and valency), and claim that accusative case (and the agent) get case ...
matan-matika's user avatar
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2 votes

Can ergative languages have a passive construction?

In Middle Persian you say things like man kard “of-me made” for “I made”, where kard is historically the perfect passive participle of the verb “to make”, as it is in Old Persian manā kŗtam “my (...
fdb's user avatar
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1 vote

Can ergative languages have a passive construction?

Punjabi and Sindhi both have ergative constructions and passive conjugations for verbs. It is not possible to use an ergative construction with a passive verb though. The agent in ergative ...
earlyinthemorning's user avatar
1 vote

Are all "Ergative Languages" split-ergative?

According to the most widely accepted analysis Sumerian was a fully ergative (not split ergative) language. This is argued (for example) by Edzard in his Sumerian grammar pp. 90 sqq.
fdb's user avatar
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1 vote

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

Kashmiri is split ergative and word order matches ergativity: imperfective/accusative is SOV, perfective/ergative is SVO. Igbo is claimed here to be abstract ergative and SVO, but also acknowledges ...
user6726's user avatar
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