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date: 20 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Ergativity in Jê languages is generally associated to nominal or adjectival forms of the verb, strengthening the proposed link between nominalizations and ergativity (cf. Alexiadou 2001). Jê languages differ from some of the better-known languages with ergative nominalizations by the extent to which nominal forms of predicates are used in the former. In addition to being required in all contexts of subordination (i.e., finite subordination is virtually absent in the family), they are governed by a number of verbal modifiers, among which might be negation, manner predicates, and most aspectual auxiliaries. The present chapter explores this general pattern and describes in some detail the various modifiers that govern nominal forms of the verb, with particular attention to Mẽbengokre, a language from the northern branch of the family, spoken in the Brazilian Amazon. Cases of "insubordination" of nominal forms are also discussed.

Keywords: Jê language family, nominalizations, ergativity in subordination, Mẽbengokre language, mixed ergative-accusative alignment, "insubordination", lowland South American languages

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