Ergative & Basque

Patrick C. Ryan proto-language at
Tue Aug 3 22:31:45 UTC 1999

Dear Jens and IEists:

 ----- Original Message -----
From: Jens Elmegaard Rasmussen <jer at>
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 1999 2:04 PM

> I could much better understand
> things if the search is continued back to an origin of the opposition in a
> difference between "is" and "there is to" (= "has"). That would make the
> ergative just a roundabout use of the same general case categories as
> used by the "accusative" syntax. That the search cannot be pushed that far
> back for many languages does not change the possibility of such a
> prehistory: you can draw no conclusions from inconclusive evidence.

Pat interjects:

There may be some evidence still around; what is the *-s of the nominative
is, in fact, derived from a comitative *-s (related to Russian s[o])?


PATRICK C. RYAN (501) 227-9947; FAX/DATA (501)312-9947 9115 W. 34th St.
Little Rock, AR 72204-4441 USA WEBPAGES: and PROTO-RELIGION: "Veit
ek, at ek hekk, vindga meipi, nftr allar nmu, geiri undapr . . . a ~eim
meipi er mangi veit hvers hann af rstum renn." (Havamal 138)

More information about the Indo-european mailing list