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Re: Ergativity

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Friday, August 15, 2003, 20:08
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andreas Johansson" <andjo@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2003 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: Ergativity

> Quoting Nik Taylor <yonjuuni@...>: > > > Chris Bates wrote: > > > > > > Okay, I give in... *sigh* I don't want to argue anymore lol... even > > > though it makes no sense to me whatsoever I accept that people call > > > languages that do that ergative. I just don't accept that it makes > > > sense... I'm a mathematician, we like clear cut definitions for all
> > > terms. > > > > Well, mathematics is one of the few areas that allows for absolute, > > clear-cut divisions. :-) There's just no way to divide languages > > easily and uncontroversially into types. Labels are just conveniences. > > Just as there's no such thing as a purely isolating, or purely fusional, > > or purely agglutinating language, so there's no such thing as a purely > > ergative language. It's a matter of degree. Some languages, such as > > Hindi will even use ergative marking in the past tense, but accusative > > marking in the present tense. :-) > > > > But, here's my question. If a language marks nouns with S & P one way, > > and A another, but verbs agree with S & A, and S/A is an obligatory > > argument, what would you call it? It's not purely ergative, and it's > > not purely accusative. I suppose you could call it "mixed", but then in > > that case, there'd be no language on Earth that would be called > > "ergative". Ergative languages generally have at least *some* > > accusative features. > > Does this mean that there are purely accusative languages around?
English seems pretty pure accusative. I don't know enough about Ergative languages to give an example of one of them, but from what I've heard, Basque is a good example of a pure Ergative lang...
> Andreass >


Andreas Johansson <andjo@...>
Tim May <butsuri@...>
Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>