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Re: ergative + another introduction

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Sunday, November 28, 2004, 17:16
On Sat, 27 Nov 2004 17:54:29 -0500, Tim Smith
<tim.langsmith@...> wrote:

> At 11:54 AM 11/18/2004 -0500, Kit La Touche wrote: >> [...snip...] >> now, there are also things like split-ergative languages (i believe >> hindi is?) which use morphological ergativity in certain structures - >> in hindi, i think it's when the verb is in the imperfective. > > Actually, it's just the opposite: ergative when the verb is perfective, > accusative when it's imperfective. This kind of pattern (split > ergativity > based on the tense and/or aspect of the verb) is quite widespread in the > Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European, but it's always ergative with past > or > perfective, accusative with nonpast or imperfective, never the other way > around.
We can go one step stronger than that: the pattern described has *no* known exceptions, not just within IIr, but anywhere on the planet. There are very few universals about which we can be as firm as we can with this one. Paul