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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Many studies of ‘alignment’ have appeared in the linguistics literature, both recent and in the past. One consistent theme in many studies is the desire to categorize, or ‘typologise’, a language by reference to labels such as ‘nominative’, ‘ergative’, ‘hierarchical’, etc. Even when different parts of the language are considered separately, descriptions such as ‘nominative-accusative verb agreement and ergative case marking’ are common. In this chapter we examine Iha, a language of western Papua New Guinea, and discover that we have a language which shows four different ‘alignment patterns’ on its verbs alone, proving that the only descriptively adequate typology must be one that critically examines languages in terms of component parts, and not just gross categorization.

Keywords: mixed alignment, Papuan, verb, agreement, suppletion, semantic alignment

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