AW: ergative to accusative alignment

Felicity Meakins f.meakins at UQ.EDU.AU
Wed Jan 8 22:33:58 UTC 2014

Dear Raheleh,

One mechanism might be language contact. The Gurindji ergative marker became a nominative marker as a result of contact with Kriol in the formation of Gurindji Kriol which is a mixed language. This change had an intermediate stage whereby Gurindji Kriol was originally an optional ergative language and then became a (optional) marked nominative language (as the ergative marker extended to subjects of transitive clauses).

Meakins, Felicity. 2009. The case of the shifty ergative marker: A pragmatic shift in the ergative marker in one Australian mixed language. In Jóhanna Barddal & Shobhana Chelliah (eds.), The Role of Semantics and Pragmatics in the Development of Case. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 59-91.

---. to appear. From absolutely optional to only nominally ergative: The life cycle of the Gurindji Kriol ergative suffix. In Nino Amiridze, Peter Arkadiev & Francesco Gardani (eds.), Borrowed Morphology. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Meakins, Felicity & Carmel O'Shannessy. 2010. Ordering arguments about: Word order and discourse motivations in the development and use of the ergative marker in two Australian mixed languages. Lingua 120.7: 1693–713.

Linguistics | SLCCS | University of Queensland |
Brisbane QLD 4072 | AUSTRALIA
RM 517 | Gordon Greenwood Bldg (32) |
' +61 7 3365 2877 | ' +61 411 404 546 | 7 +61 7 3365 6799 | • f.meakins at |

From: Geoffrey Haig <geoffrey.haig at UNI-BAMBERG.DE<mailto:geoffrey.haig at UNI-BAMBERG.DE>>
Reply-To: Geoffrey Haig <geoffrey.haig at UNI-BAMBERG.DE<mailto:geoffrey.haig at UNI-BAMBERG.DE>>
Date: Thursday, 9 January 2014 5:40 AM
Subject: Fwd: AW: ergative to accusative alignment

Dear Raheleh,

ergative to accusative is attested, and there is a vast literature related to it; a couple of pointers that might help:

Claims for a shift from ergative to accusative alignment for a number of languages of Australia are discussed in e.g. Alan Dench's paper "Insubordination: the accusative revolution in Australian languages" (available on

For West Iranian languages, relevant material is summed up in: Haig, G. 2008. Alignment change in Iranian languages. A Construction Grammar approach. Berlin: Mouton.

For alignment changes in various directions in Indo-Aryan, see, among many others, Saartje Verbeke's recent monograph.

For languages of Amazonia see: Gildea / Queixalós (eds.) 2010. Ergativity in Amazonia. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

Best wishes

Von: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG] Im Auftrag von Raheleh Izadi Far
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 8. Januar 2014 13:25
Betreff: ergative to accusative alignment

Dear all,
Does anybody know about languages which have changed from ergative alignment to accusative alignment? or does anybody know about the mechanisms involved in such a change? what are the studies concerning this issue? and if there are any, are they accessible online?
Thank you very much in advance
kind regards,
Raheleh Izadifar

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list