Optional ergative, agentivity and discourse prominence – Evidence from Yali (Trans-New Guinea)

Optional ergative, agentivity and discourse prominence – Evidence from Yali (Trans-New Guinea) AbstractA phenomenon often termed “optional ergative marking” is found in a number of genetically unrelated languages. Yali, a Trans-New Guinea language spoken in West Papua, shows striking similarities to optional ergative systems as described in the literature. This paper focuses on the relation between agentivity and discourse prominence, and argues in favour of a systematic distinction between semantic and syntactic contexts as conditioning factors for optional ergative marking. It further provides new evidence for the close interplay of ergative marking and what has been termed “discourse prominence” in descriptions of some other languages and shows that in Yali, optional ergative marking operates on both the global and the local level of discourse. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Linguistic Typology de Gruyter

Optional ergative, agentivity and discourse prominence – Evidence from Yali (Trans-New Guinea)

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1613-415X
eISSN
1613-415X
D.O.I.
10.1515/lingty-2018-0002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractA phenomenon often termed “optional ergative marking” is found in a number of genetically unrelated languages. Yali, a Trans-New Guinea language spoken in West Papua, shows striking similarities to optional ergative systems as described in the literature. This paper focuses on the relation between agentivity and discourse prominence, and argues in favour of a systematic distinction between semantic and syntactic contexts as conditioning factors for optional ergative marking. It further provides new evidence for the close interplay of ergative marking and what has been termed “discourse prominence” in descriptions of some other languages and shows that in Yali, optional ergative marking operates on both the global and the local level of discourse.

Journal

Linguistic Typologyde Gruyter

Published: Apr 25, 2018

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