Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Tongan (Polynesian) shows ergative-absolutive (ERG-ABS) patterns in morphology as well as syntax, but the ERG-ABS pattern is not consistent throughout the language. Noun morphology shows a split between clitic pronouns and other types of nouns. In syntax, three phenomena show an ERG-ABS contrast: (a) relativization using the gap strategy is limited to ABS and ERG-relatives require resumption; (b) coordinate reduction applies only if the gap and the antecedent are in the same case, be it ABS or ERG; and (c) only ABS, but not ERG, can serve as the antecedent of the null SE anaphor. No single factor can account for all three of these phenomena and at least two of the three patterns are shown to be better viewed as PF-phenomena. The data suggest that syntactic ergativity should be understood as a construction-specific phenomenon rather than a language-specific property.

Keywords: Syntactic ergativity, Tongan, relativization, ergative, case feature, split ergativity, Tongan, Austronesian

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.