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Non-Ergative Associations Between S And O

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents a message that terms 'ergative' and 'accusative' are appropriately used to describe ways of marking the functions of core arguments in a clause, and syntactic constraints on shared arguments in clause linking. In this usage the terms have a coherent conceptual value. However, there has recently arisen a tendency to extend the use of 'ergative' to cover any association between intransitive subject (S) and transitive object (O) functions; and similarly to use 'accusative' for any association of S with transitive subject (A). The chapter focuses on a summary statement of the varied types of association between S and O (and between S and A). It summarizes a number of recurrent cross-linguistic associations between S and A. Finally the chapter serves as a call for more care in the use of terms like 'ergative' and 'accusative' (and 'absolutive' and 'nominative').

Keywords: accusative; clause; core arguments; cross-linguistic associations; ergative; intransitive subject (S); transitive object (O); transitive subject (A)



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