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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The focus of this chapter is change that takes place in the case-alignment patterns found in pronominal systems in Austronesian languages. Three sets of changes that resulted in a shift from an ergative to a different alignment system are described, namely, a case from an ergative to an inverse system that was probably triggered by a word order change; one from an ergative to an accusative system as a result of a merger of two pronominal sets; and an ergative to accusative change as a result of change in the distribution of morphological forms. For each, the mechanisms by which the changes took place and their preconditions are described. Since the methodology for morphosyntactic comparison and reconstruction is not yet well established, how the changes described here relate to the general principles of comparative (historical) linguistics is also explained.

Keywords: Austronesian, historical linguistics, comparative method, syntactic reconstruction, syntactic change, pronoun, ergative, inverse, accusative, cognate structure

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