ablative as ergative marker

William McGregor william.mcgregor at ARTS.KULEUVEN.AC.BE
Mon Oct 26 09:59:37 UTC 1998

Re Scott DeLancey's question:

>Ergatives seem to have a more diverse set of origins, but not
>unlimited.  They may derive from genitives (probably through
>a grammaticalized nominative construction in which the subject
>is marked as a possessor, i.e. something like _John's shooting
>the dog_ being reanalyzed as a finite construction), or from
>instrumentals or (and?) ablatives, for fairly straightforward
>semantic reasons (again, see Clark and Carpenter, or my 1981
>paper in Language, or the work of John Anderson).  Does anybody
>have suggestions of other paths?)

a couple of other possible sources come to mind as potential sources of
ergatives in some non-Pama-Nyungan languages of Kimberley and nearby
regions: determiners/3rd person pronominals; nominal class markers;
locatives (less likely). I cant prove any of these, but there are
suggestive formal similarities.

Bill McGregor

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list