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date: 10 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter posits a parameter hierarchy to capture micro-parametric variation in ergative (or rather non-accusative) alignment, building on the proposal that ergative is an inherent case, assigned by little vs. Initial parameters determine the distribution of this inherent case across instances of little v in a given language, sensitive to various thematic features, and subsequent dependent parameters determine further properties of ergative-assigning vs such as the presence of a movement trigger and the suppression of structural Case features. This gives rise to a number of distinct ergative types depending on the distribution of ergative case, the presence/absence of syntactic ergativity, and the source of absolutive case in transitive contexts. The resultant parameter hierarchy serves to restrict the space of variation, modeling a number of proposed implicational universals in this domain, and provides a potential solution to the subset problem in acquisition by encoding a notion of relative markedness.

Keywords: ergativity, micro-parametric, parameter, micro-parameter, parameter hierarchy, parametric variation, case, agreement, EPP, Alignment, subset problem

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