Ergativity correlations

Matthew S Dryer dryer at ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU
Mon Feb 9 03:08:42 UTC 1998

I agree with Jon Aske that the notion of primary object is not relevant to
case marking in Spanish, and that what is crucial to understanding the
system is animacy and disambiguation.  But I would like to recommend a
paper that is directly relevant to this discussion, namely a paper by
Carol Genetti on object relations in Dolakha Newari that appeared in
Studies in Language in 1997.  Case marking in Dolakha Newari is
reminiscent of Spanish and as Carol argues (p. 59) "Dryer's analysis ...
works well for a language where casemarking follows a true primary object
pattern, but as Noonan (1991: 57) notes, it is not relevant for languages
where only some patients are casemarked."  At best, the pattern in
languages like Dolakha Newari and Spanish may be a diachronic source for
primary objectivity.

Matthew Dryer

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