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date: 18 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter takes a close look at ergativity in Indo-Aryan, the only language family for which we have a continuous attested record for over three thousand years. Old Indo-Aryan did not have an over ergative case whereas many of the New Indo-Aryan languages do.  It tracks the diachronic trajectory of a result-stative construction from Old Indo-Aryan to its reanalysis as an ergative construction in Middle Indo-Aryan and explore the variation found in further developments in New Indo-Aryan languages, wherein several languages lose aspects of the ergative system, or innovate morphological material to reinforce the structural pattern.  We discuss the relationship of ergativity to various structural and semantic factors that have been adduced in the literature. This includes agreement patterns, possessors, aspect, evidentiality and various lexical semantic factors.

Keywords: Indo-Aryan, split-ergativity, perfective, diachrony, semantic case

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