Ergative pattern of imperatives?

Enrique L. Palancar epalancar at HOTMAIL.COM
Wed Mar 3 02:24:52 UTC 2010

Dear Wolfgang, Although there is not a clear split as in your examples, I thought that some data from other head-marking ergative languages like Mayan would perhaps be of interest to you as there are also some interesting things here regarding person and number. Best, Enrique
In Mam (Eastern Mayan, Mamean), intransitive verbs of motion are preceded by the adverbial element “ku-x” (‘hard-continuative’), which triggers ergative marking of S on the verb, as in (1). However, such a marking is also triggered by the use of many other preverbal elements, so it is NOT to be regarded as particular of the imperative construction. 
1. (Canjolá) Mam (Pérez Vaíl & Jiménez 1997: 165)kux t-ook=aimperative 2sg.erg-entrar=2sg‘come in!’
Pérez Vaíl & Jiménez (1997: 166) report that transitive verbs in this construction receive a nasal suffix, as in (2).
2. (Canjolá) Mam (Pérez Vaíl & Jiménez 1997: 165)chin t-b’ii-m=a1sg.abs 2/3sg.erg-listen-suff=2sg‘listen to me!’
Ø k-b’ii-m=e’3sg.abs 2/3pl.erg-listen-suff=2pl‘(y’all) listen to him!’
The imperative of transitive verbs which bear a directional morpheme is a bit different. Maybe because the vast majority of verbs in Mam (like in Q’anjobal) are used with a directional, such verbs do not have ergative marking when A is singular, as in (3), in other cases, the ergative is present, as in (4). 
2. Canjolá Mam (Pérez Vaíl & Jiménez 1997: 166)iq’i-n-tz=acarry-suff-hither=2sg‘bring it here.’
4. k-b’ajsaa-n-ku’=ye’    2/3pl.erg-finish-suff-down=1/2pl‘(y’all) finish it off.’
The imperative mood is encoded in a very different fashion in the K’ichean branch, this time by means of (mood-oriented) thematic suffixes. Such suffixes are used when the verb occurs at a clausal boundary, otherwise they are dropped. Thematic suffixes additionally index verbs regarding their valence (including derivational status for transitive ones). Intransitive verbs take -oq, as in (5), reconstructed for Proto-Mayan in Robertson (1992) as an optative of intransitive verbs. The same suffix is used in K’iche’ in (6), but here, in contrast to Uspantec, there is an aditional prefix ch- marking imperative. 
5. Uspantec (Can Pixabaj 2007: 153)Ø-at-wer-oq!incompletive-2sg.abs-sleep-th.suf.intr‘go to sleep!’
6. K’iche’ (López Ixcoy 1997: 84)ch-at-b’in-oq!imperative-2sg.abs-walk-th.suf.intr‘walk!’
For basic transitive verbs, thematic suffix -a’ is used both in K’iche’ and in Sacapultec, as in (7), (although with some vowel harmony in the latter). 
7. Sacapultec (Mó Isém 2007: 183)t-Ø-aw-il-a’!‘look at him/her/it!’
In (7) Sacapultec has the prefix t- in place of K’iche’ ch-. This t- is apparently used only with transitive verbs, although Sacapultec also has a prefix k- (an apparent reflex of ch-) but this time it is used with intransitives, and with transitive verbs with an O as 1st person, as in (8), otherwise t- is used. 
8. Sacapultec (Mó Isém 2007: 183)k-in-aw-il-a’‘Look at me!’ Uspantec has k- the context of (8), and this is where the thematic suffix -e’ (the reflex of -a’) also occurs, as in (9). Otherwise the verb root is used, as in (10), at least with a third person A. Now, since the ergative marker of 3rd person in this language is Ø when it precedes a consonant, example (10) could in principle be analised as in (11), however, not bearing the thematic suffix makes such an analysis odd.  9. Uspanteck-in-a-sek’-e’‘Hit me!’
10. sek’    hit‘May he hit him!’
11. Ø-Ø-sek’    3sg.abs-3sg.erg-hit	References―Can Pixabaj, Telma Angelina. 2007. Jkemiik yoloj li Uspanteko: Gramática Uspanteka [Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA)]. Guatemala: Cholsamaj.―López Ixcoy, Candelaria Dominga. 1997. Ri Ukemiik ri K’ichee’ chii’: Gramática K’ichee’. [Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA)]. Guatemala: Cholsamaj.―Mó Isém, Romelia. 2007. Rikemiik li Tujaal Tziij: Gramática Sakapulteka [Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA)]. Guatemala: Cholsamaj.―Pérez Vaíl, Eduardo Gustavo and Odilio Jiménez. 1997. Ttxoolil qyool Mam: Gramática Mam. [Oxlajuuj Keej Maya’ Ajtz’iib’ (OKMA)]. Guatemala: Cholsamaj.―Robertson, John S (1992). The History of Tense/Aspect/Mood/Voice in the Mayan Verbal Complex. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Date: Tue, 2 Mar 2010 18:35:43 +0100
From: W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Subject: Ergative pattern of imperatives?

Dear friends,

just a brief question: Abkhaz and Abaza (West Caucasian) are known for
having a rather unusual (?) pattern of imperative formation: In both
languages, 'true' imperatives (that is: second person imperatives) of
intransitive verbs are marked for the presence of the corresponding
'absolutive' agreement morpheme, e.g. w-c'a 'go (man)!', b-c'a
'go (woman)!', shw-c'a 'go you (all)!' and so forth. With
transitive verbs, this agreement marker is missing in the singular -
instead, the verb shows the 'absolutive' marker for the Objective (y-
for inanimates, d- for animates), e.g. y-ga 'take
(it)!', d-ga 'take (him/her!)', d-sh'e^ 'kill
(him/her)'. Note that in the plural, the corresponding 'ergative'
morpheme for A is present, e.g. y-zhw-ga 'take (you) (it)' etc.
(the original morpheme shw = 2PL is assimilated to the stem
consonant in A-function only). Obviously, we have to deal with a strong
ergative pattern (S=O;A) in the singular that the marks the verb for
the given central actant (S=O) only. My simple question is whether this
pattern has good parallels in other languages. Also, I would be
interested in learning of how to explain the distribution singular
imperative S=O[;A], but plural (more or less) S=A;O. Unfortunately,
WALS does not discuss this pattern in details, as far as I can see.....

Many thanks in advance and sorry for my possible ignorance,



Dr. Wolfgang Schulze                                                                  


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