Abstract and Keywords
Philippine-type languages are often cited as exemplifying a cross-linguistically unique voice system, in which verb morphology can select not only an agent or patient, but also locative, instrumental and other adjunct type relations as the nominative argument. In this paper, we examine three approaches to this typologically remarkable system: the ergative analysis, the case agreement analysis and the nominalization analysis, arguing for the latter based on strong parallels between verbal and nominal predication from the root level to the clause level. The morphologically symmetric nature of Philippine-type languages is argued to stem from their nominal roots. The historical development of verbal roots leads to a more fixed argument structure in which canonical ergative languages develop. Mamuju, an Austronesian language of West Sulawesi, Indonesia, is offered as an example of a classically ergative language, in contrast to Philippine-type systems.
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