Abstract and Keywords
The structure of the basic clause in Katukina-Kanamari is, to a significant extent, conditioned by the internal structure of the verb phrase, which is starkly parallel to that of noun and adposition phrases. Depending on its internal make up, the verb phrase generates, for the same verbs, two patterns of transitive clauses, ergative and accusative, neither of which is synchronically derived from the other, but the latter appears as highly restricted in distribution. It also yields two patterns of intransitive clauses, one primary, the other resulting from an intransitivizing voice process. Since the basic transitive clause shows a clear syntactic hierarchy between its two arguments, intransitivizing voice is seen as of primary formal motivation: promoting the agent participant to subject status, a far more central need in this language than the functional motivation for relegating the patient participant to either adjunct status or no expression at all.
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