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Ergativity is Nonetheless Alive in Kaingang Language from South Brazil-Element 3

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On this element of the present examine, the purpose is to make clear the distribution of the circumstance markers in relation to the intransitive sentence. In fact, this assortment of articles or weblog posts signify an effort and onerous work to point out some related ideas on Kaingang circumstance-marking program.

In what follows, we’ll check out our pattern in view of the idea proposed by Givón (2001), which states that the absolutive-ergative situation-marking approach is “dominated by the idea of transitivity”. Completely then, we are able to presume that the intransitive matter in Kaingang is marked solely by zero (NO marking in any respect) and/or v&#7929. That’s to say, the agentive marker tóg is reserved for St. In our take a look at, Kaingang shouldn’t be an energetic language. In actuality, scientific research have proposed that regularly energetic gadgets are associated to a pure/canonical case-marking approach.

Kaingang: anatomy of a scenario-marking program

We’ve a lot assumed as a functioning speculation that the postposition v&#7929 might be considered a nominative marker as a result of it opposes “topics” to “objects” (morphologically zero-marked) in Kaingang. Even additional, we’ve discovered that the postposition tóg tends to mark the St. In different phrases, tóg nearly by no means follows an NP that’s in Si goal and not at all follows an NP that’s in O carry out. Equally, in Shokleng the postposition occurs in transitive sentences, and solely on occasion takes place with intransitive verbs (see Henry, 1948:199).

On this context, it’s worthwhile noting that tóg could properly substitute the NP topic in some Kaingang sentences. These, nonetheless, are particular conditions. Then again, the postposition t&#7929 is the ergative circumstance marker within the Kaingang difficult sentences (sentences with a number of clauses) (see Wiesemann, 1986). Lastly, it might probably even be additional that the same postposition t&#7929 expresses instrumental circumstance.

Equally essential it’s to look at the second but once more that the thing in Kaingang is commonly unmarked. In order that the merchandise could also be decided by its posture: it usually precedes immediately the verb. With the top consequence that the entire NP matter by no means ever breaks the shell (OV), in restricted, the subject doesn’t come up amongst the thing and the verb.

The subject material postposition v&#7929 as a nominative situation marker: a hypothesis

If this resolution is appropriate, it follows that the marker v&#7929 creates a dissension inside simply an ergative process depending on tóg, as a result of reality v&#7929 competes with the absolutive marker (zero) often reserved for the matters of the lexical intransitive verbs, and for the matters of the transitive verbs of the cut up sentences in a primary ergative sample. As now talked about, a treatment to this subject is to raise the likelihood that Kaingang reveals an “impure” tripartite system linked with phrase purchase S(O)V.

We’ve discovered that there are three competing nominal markers in our pattern, particularly: tóg vs. zero vs. v&#7929. The relation amongst the state of affairs markers and transitivity is summarized within the subsequent schema:

(a) Vt: tóg – SUBJ
(b) Vt: zero – OBJ/SUBJ
(c) Vt/Vi: v&#7929 – SUBJ/SUBJ.

That’s, the alternation amongst (a)-(b) implies that there’s an ergative process in Kaingang. Then again, the alternation (a)-(c) doesn’t enable to categorise the language as a pure ergative selection, for v&#7929 signifies a nominative system. Ultimately, the alternation (b)-(c) shows that there’s variation in case-marking with intransitive verbs, to wit: marked nominative vs. absolutive (unmarked). Usually, Kaingang not at all reveals the doubly marked ergative-accusative alignment as we are able to see in a tripartite language like Nez Perce (Penutian) (see Bittner e Hale, 1996).

V&#7929 and the intransitive sentence

Now that we’ve outlined the distribution of circumstance markers and its relation to transitivity, allow us see additional evidences regarding using the postposition v&#7929 as a nominative marker. The illustrations bellow will display that the marker v&#7929 happens predominantly with Si, regardless of the type of the intransitive verb. Accordingly, it will likely be proven that Kaingang shouldn’t be an full of life language. Completely, the rationale is that the language doesn’t use a selected postposition (agentive) to mark the energetic/volitional matters.

In an equational sentence matter and improve are linked by the verb (copula) in level, the 2 NPs confer with the identical individual or issue (i.e. the 2 are “equated” or are “equative”). Be aware that in Kaingáng equational sentences show display screen the next system: S-Complement-V, as we see in sentences these sorts of because the adhering to:

1) Kr&#297nkr&#297r v&#7929 r&#297r j&#7869. Araguaí NOM-marker awake TO BE. The araguaí [a kind of bird] is awake [alive].

2) N&#7869n&#7869 v&#7929 ok&#7869j kãkã j&#7869. Toddler NOM-marker basket inside TO STAND. The toddler stands inside the basket.

3) Kãtãn v&#7929 kãrãn j&#7869. Kãtãn NOM-marker sweaty TO BE. Kãtãn [personal name] is sweaty.

Thus, within the constructions above with the intransitive verb (copula) j&#7869, all three arguments (Si) obtain the nominative postposition v&#7929.

Now, observe that n&#297 additionally options as copula (see Mansur Guérios 1942:128). Take into consideration the adhering to instance:

4) Kãtãn v&#7929 kaga n&#297. Kãtãn NOM-marker sick TO BE. Kãtãn is in poor health.

Due to this fact, the one argument (Kãtãn) in (4) is adopted by the nominative marker.

Along with that, there are Kaingang sentences by which the V is the one ingredient of predication, as we are able to see from the examples these sorts of as the subsequent:

5) Okay&#7869j v&#7929 j&#7869. Basket NOM-marker TO BE. There’s a basket.

6) Minká fi v&#7929 n&#297. Minká FEM-marker NOM-marker TO BE. Minká [personal name] is [there].

7) Okay&#7869gr&#7869nh v&#7929 j&#7869. Irara NOM-marker TO BE. There may be an irara [a little mammal that eats honey].

As we are able to see, in sentences of this sort the nominative marker v&#7929 is nonetheless present.

Then again, in (8) and (9) the marker v&#7929 might be omitted:

8) Pépo tánh v&#7869. Frog NOM-Zero inexperienced TO BE. The frog is inexperienced.

9) Ka fej kus&#361g v&#7869. Flower NOM-Zero purple TO BE. The flower is crimson.

With respect to (8) and (9), with constituent buy SV, the total NP topics (pépo, ka fej) can come up with out having the marker v&#7929, if the copula is v&#7869.

Allow us change lastly to the entire lexical intransitive verbs (Vi). As presently noticed, there are two classes of intransitive verbs: stative (impartial) (additionally recognised as unaccusative) and energetic (additionally recognized as unergative). It actually needs to be famous, even so, that there are substitute classifications to this primary distinction. In normal, Energetic predicates (verbs) describe willed or volitional capabilities and involuntary bodily processes, whereas STATIVE predicates require states of current and occurring, and non-volitional capabilities. Do not forget that full of life languages use a selected marker (agentive) to find out the agentive/volitional subject.

The next are conditions of stative verbs:

10) Rã v&#7929 ga kar kri rar&#297n t&#297. Solar NOM-marker earth all above TO Shine HAB-asp. The sunshine shines nearly all over the place.

11) Goj v&#7929 var m&#361. River NOM-marker TO FILL PROGR-asp. The river is filling [now].

As is clear from the illustrations in (10) and (11), in stative constructions the Si is marked by the nominative postposition v&#7929.

Now, allow us to see how the Kaingang topic marking behaves in relation to energetic predicates. Contemplate the sentences bellow:

12) Kr&#297nkr&#297r v&#7929 kr&#7869g t&#297. Araguaí NOM-marker TO LAY [eggs] HAB-asp. The araguaí lays [eggs].

13) Pip&#7929m v&#7929 t&#7869 t&#297. Pavó NOM-marker TO FLY HAB-asp. The pavó [a kind of bird] flies.

14) Monh v&#7929 rãr&#297r m&#297 kanhir. Ox NOM-marker solar on TO Get pleasure from. The ox performs on daylight.

Plainly then, in constructions with energetic predicates the difficulty case-marking is proceed to nominative. In different textual content, there is no such thing as a particular marker (energetic/agentive) used to acknowledge the full of life Si in Kaingang.

The abstract that we are able to draw from the outline tried on this article is that Kaingang shouldn’t be an energetic ergative language as a result of it shows the identical nominative marker (v&#7929) in all kinds of intransitive constructions. To clarify additional extra, with intransitive verbs the only participant (the one argument S/Si) don’t purchase the equivalent agentive marker as the difficulty of transitive verbs. In a phrase, this seems to be to be the habits in widespread ergative types.

To sum up, Givón’s assertion (2001) that the possibility of the ergative marking is greater when the agent is on the prime of the transitivity hierarchy is appropriate at minimal in Kaingang quite simple clauses with phrase order S(O)V. In addition to that, the information on this sequence floor to validate that the unity of the absolutive grouping (Si/O=Zero) shouldn’t be a wanted attribute of ergative languages (see additionally Givón, 2001).

The longer term article bargains with Kaingang verbal morphology and ergative settlement.


Bittner, Maria Hale, Ken. 1996. The structural resolve of Case and Association. Linguistic Inquiry 27, 1:1-68.

Givón, T. 2001. Syntax. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Henry, Jules. 1948. The Kaingang language. IJAL xiv, no. 3: 194-204.

Wiesemann, Ursula. 1986. The pronoun programs of some Je and Macro-Je languages. — [ed.] Pronominal Items. Tübingen: Gunter Narr. p. 359-380.