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Deconstructing ErgativityTwo Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features$
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Maria Polinsky

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190256586

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190256586.001.0001

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A paradigm DP-ergative language

A paradigm DP-ergative language


(p.294) Chapter 11 A paradigm DP-ergative language
Deconstructing Ergativity

Maria Polinsky

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a brief sketch of the syntactic properties of Tsez that unambiguously identify it as a DP-ergative language. The ergative can participate in movement operations, with solid evidence available for both A-movement and A-bar movement. The ergative and the absolutive are both open to sub-scrambling, which sets them apart from all other case forms, including the in-essive, which on the surface is identical to the ergative for the majority of nouns. The ergative also serves as a binder of both anaphors and depictives. Two ways of deriving Tsez clause structure are proposed: (a) with a single functional head assigning the absolutive case to the internal argument and ergative to the external argument, or (b) by a layered-head approach in which each argument is licensed by its own functional head.

Keywords:   DP-ergative, Tsez, Nakh-Dagestanian, verb-final, layered vP structure

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