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Re: Noun/pronoun split ergativity (was Re: SVO vs SOV [...])

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Tuesday, October 14, 2003, 1:56
On 14 Oct 2003 at 0:12, Tim May wrote:

> Paul Bennett wrote at 2003-10-13 17:46:50 (-0400) > > > > On the subject of doing weird things with pronouns, there are some > > languages (Australian IIRC) which are Nom/Acc in nouns and Erg/Abs > > in pronouns. Let me just go dig out my copy of Dixon _Ergativity_ > > ... > > > > Damn. I can't find the exact reference. I know it's in there > > somewhere. Either there or Payne _Describing Morphosyntax_ > > > > If anyone's interested, I can dig out the exact reference, with > > quotes and examples. > > > > I'm sure it's in the Dixon too, but it is in Payne. You have it > backwards, though. It's pronouns that are accusative, and nouns > ergative. And only the 1st and 2nd person pronouns, in the example > given (Dyirbal, so I'm pretty sure it'll be in Dixon). The examples > are on p.155.
Yes. Thanks. I found it during the last ten minutes or so, while trying to simultaneously watch TV. That whole chapter in split systems makes for a damned good read, actually. One thing I feel obliged to throw into the mix is (p158), Split ergativity based on tense-aspect, i.e. languages where (e.g.) phrases in the present tense are marked Nom/Acc and phrases in the past tense are marked Erg/Abs. The example given is Georgian, which in the present marks S and A with {-i} and P with {-s}, and in the past marks S and P with {-i} and A with {-ma}. A quick quote, for those of us without the book: In all such languages, the ergative/absolutive system occurs in the past tense or perfective aspect, while the nominative/accusative system occurs in the non-past tense(s) or the imperfective aspect. To date, no clear exceptions to this universal have been attested. Paul