J. Clancy Clements (Kapil) clements at INDIANA.EDU
Mon Feb 16 22:06:40 UTC 1998

On Mon, 16 Feb 1998, Jose M. Garcia.Miguel wrote:

> In any case, I think that we can not talk about ergativity if we don't
> pay attention to
> grammatical marking (agreement, case, ...). It is grammatical
> grammatical marking what gives
> ergative, accusative and active systems. We don't have an ergative
> system relying only in the
> semantic or discourse functions of S.

This whole discussion started by my talking about ergative-type patterns
in Spanish.  I agree that Spanish is not an ergative language.  I think,
however, that there are suggestions of ergative-like patterns in the order
of intrans. clause subjects and trans. clause objects.  Also, there seems
to be a move toward ergative patterning in pronominalization.  In the big
picture, Spanish may be moving toward such an ergative pattern, which at
one point could become grammaticalized.  The grammaticalization of
discourse phenomena is not that uncommon. (Cf. the grammaticalization of
preposing/posposing rules in VO --> OV shift for example).


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