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date: 01 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Tsimshianic languages are entirely morphologically ergative in the agreement system. While there is a split in Tsimshianic, conditioned by both clause type and a person hierarchy, the other side of the split is not the expected nominative-accusative alignment. Rather, other logical groupings of semantic roles are found that are still ergative. This chapter presents a description of the agreement patterns across Tsimshianic, with the aim of explaining these expansions of ergativity, by undertaking a comparative analysis of the individual languages in the Tsimshianic family. This is analysis is extended to the connectives, which are complex, determiner-like morphemes that appear to be sensitive to the semantic role of the NP. This leads to four distinct alignments (nominative, ergative, neutral, and contrastive). An understanding of the alignments in the agreement system can shed light on this complexity, and a comparative analysis eliminates the multiple alignments in the connective system, thus revealing a fairly standard set of determiners.

Keywords: Tsimshianic, agreement, pronouns, determiners, split ergativity, person hierarchy

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