ablative as ergative marker

Ralf-Stefan Georg Georg at HOME.IVM.DE
Thu Oct 22 16:58:08 UTC 1998

At 9:38 Uhr -0400 22.10.1998, Paul J Hopper wrote:
>Excerpts from mail: 21-Oct-98 Re: ablative as ergative ma.. by
>Ralf-Stefan Georg at HOME.I
>Ralf-Stefan Georg's recent contribution ends by making an association
>between agent-marking and viewpoint; he wonders if it's been discussed
>before. Sure it has - by Scott DeLancey, "Aspect, Transitivity, and
>Viewpoint" in Tense-Aspect: Between Semantics and Pragmatics, ed.
>Hopper, 1982 167-184 (Typological Studies in Language, vol. 1)

Yes, I was thinking of this and other publications by Scott DeLancey when I
threw in the term "viewpoint", but as far as I remember DeLancey mentions
ABL-ERG syncretism at one point in his paper as one illustrating instance
of his point, viz. "that there is a semantic parallel between the structure
of aspectual and voice distinctions, including a category ... called ...
However, no data accompany this particular foot-note-like point.
My Thakali example may not be watertight (since INS is included),
especially since Mickey Noonan showed that in Chantyal ABL is not part of
the functional range of the cognate marker (and my Tamang notes are still
missing: anyone in for help on Tamang ?).
I hope I'll be forgiven for sharing indegested musings with the list, but:
could it be that the ABL function of this ERG marker is rather the end of
the story than its beginning ? But maybe this would entail a
grammaticalisation of a more concrete, spatial notion (source) out of a
more abstract, gestaltless one (agent), something which may be hard to
swallow, I'm aware of that (some people may even wish to rule this out
completely ??).
Theorising apart, where are clear examples of ABL/ERG (ideally excluding
other functions, such as INS) ?

St. G.

Stefan Georg
Heerstrasse 7
D-53111 Bonn

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