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Ergative to Nominative Transition

From:Anthony M. Miles <theophilus88@...>
Date:Thursday, September 28, 2000, 0:30
Does the following transition seem likely?

Proto-Gweinic was a mixed ergative language. The nouns used ergative (E) and
absolutive (Ab) and the pronouns used nominative (N) and accusative (Ac).
The ergative and nominative and the absolutive and the accusative were
identical in the inanimate desclension except for the nominative singular,
since there were only two inanimate pseudo-pronouns, compared to six animate
ones. The first change occurred when a Proto-Gweinic speaker used VNAc in an
originally VNAb construction. Then VEAc replaced VEAb. Now that there was no
difference in the transitive roles of E and N, N and E became confused, and
the new animate N ending was the E ending (R) followed by the old N ending
(k<h>ex). The E ending was inserted to the other cases on analogy with the
nominative. The inanimate ending underwent a parallel development (N + leG,
N + puotj).  The change from VEAc to VNAc left VAb as an anomaly which
underwent leveling to become VN.
In summary:
4. VAB -> VN
Various sound changes altered Proto-Gweinic into Gweinic:
1. tj, dj -> s, z
2. s -> z
3. ow, ej -> o:, e:
4. M, R -> m, r before a vowel
5. u, o -> w, j before a vowel
6. G -> j, x -> h -> 0
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