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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter compares the view that ergative case is an inherent case assigned by v to an NP that it theta-marks (the ICT) to the view that ergative case is a dependent case assigned to a higher NP when there is a lower NP in the same local domain (the DCT). First we present instances in which a nonagent receives ergative case when there is another NP nearby, in applicative constructions in Shipibo, Kalaallisut (West Greenlandic), and Chukchi. Conversely, we present instances in which an agent fails to receive ergative, either because the second NP has been rendered invisible, or because the clause is subsumed within a larger case domain (ECM, causatives). Both data sets support the DCT over the ICT. Finally, we argue that no known language displays a straightforwardly active case pattern—a fact that can be explained by the DCT but not the ICT.

Keywords: ergative case, inherent case, dependent case, ergative alignment, active alignment, unaccusatives, unergatives, applicatives

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