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date: 25 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The topic of this chapter is a descriptive generalization indicating a connection between case-alignment and the linear order of the major constituents of a sentence. In particular, the generalization claims that no SVO language can have Ergative/Absolutive case-alignment (“Mahajan’s Generalization”). The discussion focuses on determining to what extent existing theories of case-alignment provide a basis for explaining the descriptive generalization as well as its exceptions, and some concrete proposals are examined. I also suggest ways of broadening the empirical foundations of the generalization so as to narrow down the range of analytical options. In particular, it should be determined whether neutral languages with Ergative/Absolutive agreement fall under the scope of the generalization, and also whether the generalization extends to tripartite languages.

Keywords: case-alignment, constituent order, agreement, Mahajan’s Generalization, tripartite languages

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