Can I Download Unity Language Software To My Desktop Computer Ergativity is Still Alive in Kaingang Language from South Brazil-Part 3

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Ergativity is Still Alive in Kaingang Language from South Brazil-Part 3

In this part of the present survey, the aim is to explain the distribution of the case markers in relation to the intransitive sentence. In fact, this series of articles represents an attempt to indicate some relevant questions about Kaingang case marking system.

In what follows, we will examine our sample in the light of the theory proposed by Givón (2001), which states that the absolutive-ergative case marking system is “governed by the principle of transitivity”. Then we can surely assume that the imperishable subject in Kaingang only through zero (NO marking) and/or fig. That is, the agentive marker yet is reserved for St. In our opinion, Kaingang is not an active language. In fact, studies have suggested that generally active systems are related to a pure/canonical case marking system.

Kaingang: anatomy of a case marking system

We have so far assumed as a working hypothesis that the postposition fig can be considered a nominative marker since it opposes “subjects” to “objects” (morphologically zero-marked) in Kaingang. Furthermore, we have seen that the post position yet tends to mark the St. In other words, yet rarely follows an NP that is in Si function and never follows an NP that is in O function. Likewise, in Shokleng the post position occurs in transitive sentences, and only occasionally occurs with intransitive verbs (see Henry, 1948:199).

In this context, it is worth noting yet can replace the NP subject in some Kaingang sentences. However, these are special cases. On the other hand, the job position tỹ is the ergative case marker in the Kaingang complex sentences (sentences with multiple clauses) (see Wiesemann, 1986). Finally, it can also be added that the same job position tỹ expresses instrumental case.

Equally important is to note again that the object in Kaingang is always unmarked. So that the object can be identified by its position: it always goes immediately before the verb. With the result that the full NP subject never breaks the shell (OV), in short, the subject does not appear between the object and the verb.

The subject postposition fig as a nominative case marker: a hypothesis

If this approach is correct, it follows that the tag fig creates a disagreement within an ergative system based on yetbecause fig competes with the absolutive marker (zero) typically reserved for the subjects of the lexical intransitive verbs, and for the subjects of the transitive verbs of the split sentences in a classical ergative pattern. As already stated, a solution to this problem is to raise the possibility that Kaingang exhibits an “impure” tripartite system associated with word order S(O)V.

We saw that there are three competing nominal markers in our sample, namely: yet vs. zero vs. fig. The relationship between the case markers and transitivity is summarized in the following scheme:

(a) Vt: yet – SUBJ;

(b) Vt: zero – OBJ/SUBJ;

(c) Ft/Fri: fig – SUBJ/SUBJ.

That is, the alternation between (a)-(b) indicates that there is an ergative system in Kaingang. On the other hand, the alternation (a)-(c) does not allow the language to be classified as a purely ergative type, because fig suggests a nominative system. Finally, the alternation (b)-(c) shows that there is variation in capital letters with intransitive verbs, namely: marked nominative vs. absolutive (unmarked). Of course, Kaingang never exhibits the doubly marked ergative-accusative alignment as we can see in a tripartite language like Nez Perce (Penutian) (see Bittner e Hale, 1996).

Fig and the imperishable sense

Now that we have outlined the distribution of case markers and their relation to transitivity, let us see further evidence on the use of the postposition fig as nominative marker. The examples below will show that the tag fig occurs predominantly with Si, regardless of the type of intransitive verb. Consequently, it will be shown that Kaingang is not an active language. The reason is surely that the language does not use a special position (agentive) to mark the active/voluntary subjects.

In a comparative sentence, subject and complement are joined by the verb (copula); in fact, both NPs refer to the same person or thing (ie the two are “equated” or are “equivalent”). Note that comparative sentences in Kaingáng display the following formula: S-complement-V, as we see in sentences like the following:

1) Krĩnkrĩr vỹ rĩr jẽ. Araguaí NOM marker awake TO BE. The araguaí [a kind of bird] is awake [alive].

2) Nẽnẽ vỹ kẽj kãkã jẽ. Baby NOM tag inside basket TO STAND. The baby is standing inside the basket.

3) Kãtãn vỹ kãrãn jẽ. Kãtãn NOM marker sweat TO BE. Kantan [personal name] is sweat

So, in the structures above with the intransitive verb (copula) jẽall three arguments (Si) receive the nominative position fig.

Now, notice that no also functions as a copula (see Mansur Guérios 1942:128). Consider the following example:

4) Kãtãn vỹ kaga nĩ. Kãtãn NOM tag sick TO BE. Kãtãn is sick.

Thus, the single argument (Kantan) in (4) is followed by the nominative marker.

Besides that, there are Kaingang sentences in which the V is the only element of predication, as we can see from the examples like the following:

5) Kẽj vỹ jẽ. Basket NOM tag TO BE. There is a basket.

6) Minká fi vỹ nĩ. Minká FEM marker NOM marker TO BE. Minka [personal name] is [there].

7) Kẽgrẽnh vỹ jẽ. Irara NOM marker TO BE. There is an irara [a little mammal that eats honey].

As we can see, in sentences of this type is the nominative marker fig is still present.

On the other hand, in (8) and (9) the marker fig can be omitted:

8) Pépo tánh tên. Frog NOM-Zero green TO BE. The frog is green.

9) Ka fej kusũg tên. Flower NOM-Zero red TO BE. The flower is red.

Regarding (8) and (9), with constituent order SV, the full NP subjects (pépo, ka fej) can occur without the tag figif the copula is draw.

Finally, let’s turn to the complete lexical intransitive verbs (Vi). As already noted, there are two classes of intransitive verbs: tripod (neutral) (also known as unaccusative) and active (aka annoying). However, it should be noted that there are alternative classifications for this fundamental distinction. In general, ACTIVE predicates (verbs) describe volitional or volitional actions and involuntary bodily processes, while STATIC predicates involve states of being and happening, and non-voluntary actions. Remember that active languages ​​use a special marker (agentive) to identify the agentive/voluntary subject.

The following are cases of stative verbs:

10) Rã vỹ ga kar kri rarĩn tĩ. Sun NOM marker earth all above TO SHINE HAB-asp. The sun shines everywhere.

11) Goj vỹ var mũ. River NOM tag OM PROGR asp. The river is filling up [now].

As is clear from the examples in (10) and (11), the Si in stative structures is marked by the nominative postposition fig.

Now let’s see how the Kaingang subject tag behaves in relation to active predicates. Consider the sentences below:

12) Krĩnkrĩr vỹ krẽg tĩ. Araguaí NOM marker TO LEAD [eggs] HAB asp. The araguaí lies [eggs].

13) Pipỹm vỹ tẽ tĩ. Pavó NOM marker TO FLY HAB-asp. The pavó [a kind of bird] flies.

14) Monh vỹ rãrĩr mĩ kanhir. Os NOM marker sun up TO PLAY. The ox plays on sunlight.

It is therefore clear that in constructions with active predicates the subject case marking is still nominative. In other words, there is no special marker (active/agent) used to identify the active Si in Kaingang.

The conclusion we can draw from the description attempted here is that Kaingang is not an active ergative language as it exhibits the same nominative marker (fig) in all kinds of intransitive constructions. To further clarify, with intransitive verbs the sole participant (the sole argument S/Si) does not receive the same agentive marker as the subject of transitive verbs. In a word, it appears to be the behavior in regular ergative patterns.

To summarize, Givón’s statement (2001) that the probability of the ergative marking is higher when the agent is at the top of the transitivity hierarchy is accurate at least in Kaingang simple clauses with word order S(O)V. In addition, the data in this series seem to confirm that the unity of the absolutive grouping (Si/O=Zero) is not an essential feature of ergative languages ​​(see also Givón, 2001).

The following article deals with Kaingang verbal morphology and ergative agreement.

References

Bittner, Maria; Hale, Ken. 1996. The structural determination of Case and Agreement. 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 systems of some Je and Macro-Je languages. — [ed.] Pronominal systems. Tübingen: Gunter Narr. p. 359-380.

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