The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 3/19 - Yusuke Imanishi

Speaker: Yusuke Imanishi
Title: When ergative is default: Ergativity in Kaqchikel and Q’anjob’al (and Mayan)
Date/Time: Tuesday, Mar 19, 1-2p
Location: 32-D461

In this preliminary talk, I will explore the possibility that ergative is assigned as a default Case only when a nominal lacks a structural Case. I will begin with an investigation of the contrastive alignment between the ergative and grammatical functions in ergative splits of Kaqchikel and Q’anjob’al. I will also show that this analysis has a consequence for syntactic ergativity (e.g. a ban on A-bar extraction of the ergative subject) in the two languages (and possibly other ergative languages both within and outside Mayan). Furthermore, it will be demonstrated that the proposed analysis can capture a novel generalization on the correlation between non-verbal predicates and ergative alignment patterns in some Mayan ergative splits (Imanishi 2012).