Archaic Syntax in Indo-European: The Spread of Transitivity by Brigitte Bauer

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By Brigitte Bauer

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The hunter kills the deer' (Schmidt 1979:340) The most common variety of split-ergativity is the split according to the semantic nature of the NP involved. Some ergative languages display ergative patterns for inanimate, but not for animate nouns or personal pronouns, which then are marked according to nominative patterns. g.

Consequently, an active language in its purest form will include examples of the type canis currit and dog-Animate run-Active 'the dog is running' saxum iacet stone-Inanimate lie-Stative 'the stone is lying' but not: °saxum movet stone-Inanimate move-Active 'the stone is moving' The relation between these elements is not based on government, but on agreement or lexical concordance as expressed by the semantic feature [a animate]. Yet, since two human beings can be involved in an action featuring an agent and a patient, markers may be needed at some point to indicate the patient and the agent.

Exclusive. The two interpretations are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and further - much needed - research may in fact demonstrate that they support each other. 3. This feature may be related to movability, movable vs. immovable objects, as Tunica evidence suggests (cf. Chapter 2). The notion of alienable possession is unknown in the modern Indo-European dialects, but residues can be found in the various individual languages, cf. for example Rosen's article on Greek φίλος, which he argues is an exponent of inalienable possession (1959; for further discussion, see Chapter 4).

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