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Re: What is ergative?

From:Joe <joe@...>
Date:Saturday, March 30, 2002, 8:20
----- Original Message -----
From: "Christopher B Wright" <faceloran@...>
To: <CONLANG@...>
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 2002 6:44 PM
Subject: What is ergative?

> First off, I want to say that you're all making me feel stupid. That's > something which is wrong with me; that is, I'm actually ignorant. > > More importantly, I'd like to know what nominative/ergative languages > are. It seemed to me as if they use semantic purpose as grammatical > function; that is, whatever is doing the action in the meaning is the > subject of the sentence, no matter whether the subject is the emphasized > part of the sentence. Am I correct? (Probably not, but even a hog with no > nose can find a truffle once in a while.) > > Chris Wright > > "The purpose of argument is to change the nature of the truth." Bene > Gesserit saying. >
Ergative: Variant form of what is usually the nominative case. it is 'the causer' or the subject in transitive sentences. It is paired with absolutive, or 'the sufferer' which is the object of transitive sentences and the subject of intransitive ones.