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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter provides an overview of ergativity in Inuktitut, a dialect group of the Inuit language (Eskimo-Aleut), spoken in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. The various manifestations of ergativity in the language are examined, including the ergative alignment of case assignment as well as verbal agreement morphology. Evidence for absolutive case being structural, as opposed to a morphological default, is presented using evidence from ditransitives and causatives. Bittner and Hale’s (1996a,b) influential account of ergativity in West Greenlandic is discussed and several points of their analysis are shown to be problematic as applied to Inuktitut. The ergative organization of verbal agreement and its origin in possessor agreement is also examined. Finally, the use of the antipassive construction as a type of differential object marking to indicate an indefinite or non-specific object is presented and proposals linking antipassive marking and aspect are considered.

Keywords: antipassive, Inuit, Inuktitut, Eskimo-Aleut, morphological ergativity, object agreement, structural case, syntactic ergativity, West Greenlandic

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