[Lingtyp] Studies of discourse in ergative languages

Spike Gildea spike at uoregon.edu
Sun Oct 11 17:14:33 UTC 2015

I have three quick recommendations.

This ms by Geoffrey Haig and Stefan Schnell gives both a review of the 
literature and some new conclusions based on their own corpus studies.

For those who read Spanish, here is a very nice conference proceedings 

Vázquez Álvarez, Juan Jesús and Roberto Zavala Maldonado. 2013. La 
estructura argumental preferida en el chol, una lengua agentiva. 
Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on the Indigenous Languages of Latin 
America (CILLA). Ausitn: University of Texas.

Also for those who read Spanish, there is also an excellent recent MA 
thesis from CIESAS (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en 
Antropología Social) Sureste on Mam de Cajolá (Mayan).

Pérez Vail, José Reginaldo. 2014. La inversión y obviación en el mam de 
Cajolá. Mexico, D.F.: CIESAS MA Thesis.

This thesis uses extensive analysis of discourse to help understand the 
complexities of voice in a language with ergative main clause verbal 
indexation plus five different passive constructions, one antipassive 
construction, and (with discourse patterns confirmed in elicitation) the 
obligatory use of one of the detransitive voice constructions when a 
third person agent acts on a Speech Act Participant patient (i.e., the 
genesis of main clause hierarchical grammar).

Although this is the only CIESAS graduate thesis I have read, I think 
the pool of theses from this program is likely to be a rich resource for 
discourse-informed studies of indigenous languages of Mesoamerica, 
including languages with both ergative and hierarchical main clause 
patterns. I spent three weeks there in 2013, which gave me the chance to 
interact extensively with both the students and faculty -- I was really 
impressed by the entire program and I expect great things from their 
work. All students are fluent speakers of the language they study and, 
as a part of their studies, they use their fluency to collect 
substantial corpora of the languages with which they are working. As a 
result, all their descriptive and theoretical conclusions are informed 
by extensive knowledge of discourse patterns. If you are interested in 
knowing more about the work produced there, I encourage you to get in 
touch with any of the faculty: Roberto Zavala, Gilles Polian, and Eladio 
Mateo Toledo.



On 10/10/15 8:34 PM, Tasaku Tsunoda wrote:
> Dear Professor Everett,
>     Thank you very much for your information.
>     It is really appreciated.
> Best wishes,
> Tasaku Tsunoda
> From: "Everett, Daniel" <DEVERETT at bentley.edu 
> <mailto:DEVERETT at bentley.edu>>
> Date: 2015年10月10日土曜日 20:39
> To: 角田 太作 <tsunoda at ninjal.ac.jp <mailto:tsunoda at ninjal.ac.jp>>
> Cc: "Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org 
> <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>" 
> <Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org 
> <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>>, 角田 太作 
> <tasakutsunoda at nifty.com <mailto:tasakutsunoda at nifty.com>>
> Subject: Re: [Lingtyp] Studies of discourse in ergative languages
> Here is one article, by Caleb Everett:
> http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jbp/sl/2009/00000033/00000001/art00001?crawler=true
> Sent from my iPhone
> On Oct 10, 2015, at 06:04, Tasaku Tsunoda <tsunoda at ninjal.ac.jp 
> <mailto:tsunoda at ninjal.ac.jp>> wrote:
>> Dear Colleagues,
>> Would anyone please advise me of studies of discourse in ergative 
>> languages?
>>      In particular, I would appreciate information on studies of 
>> discourse in languages that have syntactic ergativity.
>> Thanking you in advance,
>> Tasaku Tsunoda
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