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> Nichols
>found that ergative languages are the most consistently morphologically
>complex of any alignment type, with neutral alignment unsurprisingly
>being the least complex.  Ergativity also favors dependent marking
>(e.g., ergative case rather than ergative head agreement), and,
>apparently independently, common on nouns rather than verbs.
>
>
 From memory, according to Describing Morphosyntax there is at least one
language which displays ergative behavoir with regards to word order
(and without explicit case marking). The verb is in the middle, and S
occurs in the same position as P always, not A. He then says however
that it would be "presumptuous" to label a language (or part of a
language anyway) Ergative based solely on word order. Perhaps this is
why there are few morphologically simple ergative languages? Because
linguists are reluctant to classify them as such?
 I'm not sure I agree with this argument anyway: there's a guy who works
at the supermarket where I have a part time job whose dialect of English
(possibly Jamaican, I'm not sure) seems to always use the accusative
form of pronouns where we'd use the nominative forms, and seems also to
have demolished a lot of the verb agreement. For example, he would say
"him go" instead of "he goes". I find it extremely difficult to
understand him. But anyway, about the only difference displayed between
subject and object in nouns or pronouns in his dialect of English is
word order. Does this mean that his dialect can't be classified as
accusative because only word order marks the difference, and there are
no morphological markers of case in the nouns or pronouns? Of course
not. It just seems to me that some linguists are sometimes reluctant to
declare a system in a language Ergative if they can force the square peg
of accusative into a round hole. :) Similar to the declarations by early
studies of Basque etc that "the verb is always passive", to force their
grammars into patterns familiar from the European branch of the
Indo-European languages.