Psych Verbs in Ergative Languages

Hewitt, Stephen s.hewitt at UNESCO.ORG
Thu May 26 05:53:36 UTC 2005

Georgian has:

(1) split ergativity with transitives and unergative intransitives - subject(-object) as follows:
	(a) nominative-dative[=accusative] marking in present-future tenses;
	(b) ergative-nominative marking in preterite tenses;
	(c) "inverted" dative-nominative marking in perfect[=evidential] tenses;
(2) no ergativity, nominative marking in all tenses, with passives and unaccusative intransitives; 
(3) "inverted" dative-nominative marking in all tenses, with experiencer verbs of the sort you mention.


Steve Hewitt
s.hewitt at


Carol Rosen wrote :

> I have a question about psych verbs in languages with ergative
> morphology.
> English psych verbs, of course, vary a lot in how they treat the
> experiencers. Verbs like remember, forget, fear take the experiencer as
> subject, while such verbs as annoy, bother, frighten seem to take the
> experiencer as direct object. In other languages the experiencer often
> appears as a dative.
> I hope to discover whether any one of these patterns tends to be
> preferred
> in languages with ergative morphology.
> I'm grateful not only for data, but also for references to appropriate
> sources. -- With thanks, Carol Rosen

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