On Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 10:38 AM, Eric Christopherson <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I'm working on a diachronic conlang, the parent of which is ergative (in some respects at least). I just reread the chapter on grammatical relations in _Describing morphosyntax_, and was reminded of two things:
> 1. All "ergative" languages are split ergative in some respect.
> 2. In split ergative languages, agreement markers are most likely to show nominative-accusative alignment.

I'm troubled by this as well, since my LIP Hesychian has ergative
agreement but nom-acc syntax, which is the opposite of the predominant
pattern. The common word order is AOV / SV, and a noun class marker
follows the noun. Over time the class marker became proclitic and
separable from the noun, turning into an agreement marker. Since the
argument immediately preceding the noun is either the S or the O, the
agreement pattern is ergative.

It made perfect sense to me, though I was surprised to hear that it's
rare in natlangs.

JS Bangs
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