Ergative Case
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Ergative Case
Cuneiform inscription Lugal Kiengi Kiuri , "King of Sumer and Akkad", on a seal of Sumerian king Shulgi (r. c. 2094-2047 BCE). The final ke4 ? is the composite of -k (genitive case) and -e (ergative case).[1]

In grammar, the ergative case (abbreviated erg) is the grammatical case that identifies the noun[2] as a subject of a transitive verb in ergative-absolutive languages.

Characteristics

In such languages, the ergative case is typically marked (most salient), while the absolutive case is unmarked. New work[timeframe?] in case theory has vigorously supported the idea that the ergative case identifies the agent (the intentful performer of an action) of a verb (Woolford 2004).

In Kalaallisut (Greenlandic) for example, the ergative case is used to mark subjects of transitive verbs and possessors of nouns.

Nez Perce has a three-way nominal case system with both ergative (-nim) and accusative (-ne) plus an absolute (unmarked) case for intransitive subjects: hipáayna qíiwn 'the old man arrived'; hipáayna wewúkiye 'the elk arrived'; wewúkiyene péexne qíiwnim 'the old man saw an elk'.

Sahaptin has an ergative noun case (with suffix -n?m) that is limited to transitive constructions only when the direct object is 1st or 2nd person: iwapáatayaa? ?máman?m 'the old woman helped me'; paanáy iwapáataya ?máma 'the old woman helped him/her' (direct); páwapaataya ?mámayin 'the old woman helped him/her' (inverse).

Other languages that use the ergative case are Georgian, Chechen, and other Caucasian languages, Mayan languages, Mixe-Zoque languages, Wagiman and other Australian Aboriginal languages as well as Basque, Burushaski and Tibetan. Among all Indo-European languages only, Yaghnobi, Kurdish language varieties (including Kurmanji, Zazaki and Sorani),[3] and Hindi/Urdu, along with some other Indo-Aryan languages, are ergative.

The ergative case is also a feature of some constructed languages such as Na'vi, Ithkuil and Black Speech.

See also

Citations

  1. ^ Edzard, Dietz Otto (2003). Sumerian Grammar. BRILL. p. 36. ISBN 978-90-474-0340-1.
  2. ^ Loos, Eugene. "Glossary of linguistic terms". LinguaLinks Library 5.0 Plus. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Theodora Bynon. 1979. The Ergative Construction in Kurdish. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies Vol. 42, No. 2:211-224.

References

  • [1] "Glossary of linguistic terms by Eugene E. Loos. 2003

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