Aspects of Split Ergativity by Jessica CoonAspects of Split Ergativity by Jessica Coon

Aspects of Split Ergativity

byJessica Coon

Paperback | August 21, 2013

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In languages with aspect-based split ergativity, one portion of the grammar follows an ergative pattern, while another shows a "split." In this book, Jessica Coon argues that aspectual split ergativity does not mark a split in how case is assigned, but rather, a split in sentence structure.Specifically, the contexts in which we find the appearance of a nonergative pattern in an otherwise ergative language involve added structure - a disassociation between the syntactic predicate and the stem carrying the lexical verb stem. The book begins with an analysis of split person marking patterns in Chol, a Mayan language of southern Mexico. Here appearance of split ergativity follows naturally from the fact that the progressive and the imperfective morphemes are verbs, while the perfective morpheme is not. The fact that thenonperfective morphemes are verbs, combined with independent properties of Chol grammar, results in the appearance of a split.This book further surveys aspectual splits in a variety of unrelated languages and offers an explanation for the universal directionality of split ergativity: in splits, ergativity is always retained in the perfective aspect. Following Laka's (2006) proposal for Basque, Coon proposes that thecross-linguistic tendency for imperfective aspects to pattern with locative constructions is responsible for the biclausality which causes the appearance of a nonergative pattern. Building on Demirdache and Uribe-Etxebarria's (2000) prepositional account of spatiotemporal relations, Coon proposesthat the perfective is never periphrastic - and thus never involves a split - because there is no preposition in natural language that correctly captures the relation of the assertion time to the event time denoted by the perfective aspect.

About The Author

Jessica Coon is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at McGill University. She completed her PhD at MIT in 2010 and spent one year as a post-doc at Harvard before accepting a SSHRC Banting Post-doctoral Research Fellowship at McGill University. She joined the faculty at McGill in 2011. Her work focuses on the morphology and syntax of und...
The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity
The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity

by Jessica Coon


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Title:Aspects of Split ErgativityFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:August 21, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019985873X

ISBN - 13:9780199858736

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Table of Contents

1. IntroductionPart I Complementation in Chol2. Mayan background and clause structure3. Verbs and nouns in Chol4. Explaining split ergativity in CholPart II A theory of split ergativity5. Beyond Mayan6. The grammar of temporal relations7. ConclusionAppendix A AbbreviationsAppendix B Narrative text abbreviationsAppendix C Summary of basic constructions