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Re: Comments? Applicative and Noun Incorporation

From:Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
Date:Sunday, April 14, 2002, 12:53
> Date: Sun, 14 Apr 2002 00:01:43 -0400 > From: Nik Taylor <fortytwo@...> > > David Peterson wrote: > > Are there any natural language that display either split-ergativity > > in something other than present/past tense, or are completely ergative? > > Sure. Dyirbal uses nominative/accusative with first and second person > pronouns, and ergative/absolutive with other 3rd person pronouns and > nouns (at least, I think that's where the division is; at any rate, it's > by person, rather than tense), and there are plenty of languages that > *only* have ergative/absolutive marking on nouns. Altho, syntactically, > there's usually some nominative/accusative distinctions. The Grey > Wizard can explain it better than me.
As another data point, Inuit languages are pretty thoroughly ergative in their morphology, but even they have a small class of pronouns with nom-acc markings. (I think it is a kind of indefinite pronouns, but I don't remember exactly. Not the personal ones, I'm sure). An interesting fact is that in many languages with an ergative case, it is also the genitive. The Inuit languages are like that --- the two core cases are called absolutive and relative. There's some evidence that the same was true in Pre-PIE. (This doesn't apply to languages where a split ergative construction developed from a passive, since they most often mark the agent with an old instrumental case). Lars Mathiesen (U of Copenhagen CS Dep) <thorinn@...> (Humour NOT marked)