Abstract and Keywords
This chapter demonstrates that for a diverse range of languages the assignment of ergative case is determined by a cluster of factors, which vary between the languages. While ergative assignment thus resists a simple, uniform analysis, the relevant factors are consistently based low in the clausal structure, centered around vP. The low factors identified include the theta-position and theta-role of the subject, the presence of a complement, the presence of a DP object, the case of the object, the presence of object agreement, and the Aspect selecting vP. Illustrative languages examined are Tsova-Tush (East Caucasian), Nez Perce (Sahaptin), Warlpiri (South-West Pama-Nyungan), Tshangla (Tibeto-Burman), and Hindi/Urdu (Indo-Aryan). Kurmanji Kurdish (Iranian) and Yukulta (Tangic) are also considered: here, the governing factors of ergative case assignment are prima facie high in the clause, based in TP/CP. These languages are revealed to instead fall under the low ergative pattern.
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