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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In an Austronesian-type voice system, one argument is designated the "pivot" in each clause, with verbal morphology indicating the choice of pivot and corresponding changes in case marking and extraction possibilities. It has been suggested that ergativity plays a crucial role in these systems. This paper argues that voice and case reflect separate but interacting systems, which can be dissociated from each other, based on the behavior of voice in Dinka (Nilotic; South Sudan) and Balinese (Austronesian; Indonesia). These languages exhibit familiar voice morphology, but are shown to not involve any ergativity. Instead, we propose that what unifies "voice" system behavior is a lack of structural licensing for subjects in Non-Subject Voices. Different voice systems solve this problem in different ways: Balinese licenses the subject under adjacency with the verb, whereas Dinka allows for a last resort genitive case like in many Austronesian languages of the Philippines and of Taiwan.

Keywords: Voice, voice system, Austronesian, Balinese, Nilotic, Dinka, Ergativity, case licensing, syntactic ergativity

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