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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The small Kartvelian family is one of the three endemic language families of the Caucasus. The Kartvelian languages are double marking, with nominal case and two sets of person markers in the verb. Since the 17th century, linguists have attempted to accommodate the complexities of Georgian morphosyntax within the descriptive categories of their time, successively describing the language as nominative, (split) ergative, and active/inactive. In the present chapter, I will argue that its alignment can be most accurately described as split-intransitive, once the considerable number of monovalent dative-subject verbs are brought into consideration. Proto-Kartvelian would have had split-intransitive verb agreement, absolutively aligned verbal plurality marking, and incipient ergative-absolutive case assignment. Also discussed is the morphosyntactic orientation of the Kartvelian languages and dialects, that is, the distribution of morphological and syntactic privileges among the clausal arguments.

Keywords: Kartvelian, Georgian, ergativity, split-intransitivity, morphosyntactic orientation, alignment

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