Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Deconstructing ErgativityTwo Types of Ergative Languages and Their Features$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 October 2020



(p.28) Chapter 2 Proposal
Deconstructing Ergativity

Maria Polinsky

Oxford University Press

This chapter outlines the core proposal concerning variation across ergative languages. I contend that ergative languages fall into two major types, DP-ergative and PP-ergative. In the former, the ergative is a structural case licensed by a functional head. In the latter, the ergative is an inherent case in the external argument position of a transitive clause. The thematic licensing of such PP-arguments actually comes from the verbal head, and the adposition, which is semantically very light, contributes the case proper. In those PP-ergative languages that do not allow adposition stranding or adposition pied-piping, we can expect that ergative expressions should not be extractable under A-bar movement—that is, we should expect to find syntactic ergativity. Thus syntactic ergativity is a manifestation of the status of the ergative as a PP. Not all PP-ergative languages are expected to be syntactically ergative, but all syntactically ergative languages are expected to have PP-ergatives.

Keywords:   syntactic ergativity, diachronic origins of ergativity, ergative case syncretisms, PP-ergative, DP-ergative, structural case, inherent case

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .