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Syntax Interface Lectures Utrecht

Agenda

10 October 2016
15:15 - 16:30
Trans 8, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)

Bernat Bardagil-Mas (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)

Title: The syntax of Panará ergativity

Abstract: This presentation will discuss ergativity in Panará, a Northern Jê (NJ) language spoken in central Brazil. Panará presents a robust ergative alignment in its case system. While morphological case marking on DPs in NJ presents a split related to the nominal environments of the traditionally called ‘long forms’ of the verb, Panará case marking shows a surprisingly solid morphological ergativity seen in (1).

(1a)
 
Ka
2sg
[jy=
intr
a=
2abs
tẽ].
fall 

‘You fell down.’

(b)
 
Ka
2sg
hẽ
erg
[ka=
2erg
ra=
1abs
sisy-ri]
hit-prf
inkjẽ.
1sg

‘You hit me.’

In the debate on the nature of ergativity, Panará does not straightforwardly fall in the inherent case approach (Aldridge 2012, Coon et al. 2015, Legate 2008), nor does it align completely with a dependent case approach (Baker 2014, 2015, Deal 2016). This talk will lay out the Panará evidence necessary to examine the nature of ergativity in the language, and will propose the basis of a syntactic analysis to account for its morphological and argument-structural ergative properties. Finally, I will discuss the broader consequences of the possible outcomes of the ergativity debate for NJ languages and, more generally, for our theories of agreement.