Optional Ergativity in Nepali

Luke Lindemann (Yale Linguistics)
Event time: 
Friday, December 9, 2016 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
LingSem (DOW 201) See map
370 Temple Street
New Haven, CT 06511
Event description: 

Nepali is unique among the Indo-Aryan languages in the variable expression of morphological ergativity. The verbal agreement pattern has generalized to a completely nominative-accusative pattern, while ergative marking on arguments is obligatory in perfective transitive clauses. Outside of this domain, ergative marking varies with the bare nominative form in a way that is conditioned by both pragmatic and structural factors. The purpose of this investigation is to characterize Optional Ergative Marking in Nepali from two perspectives: (1) as the result of internal changes and contact with Tibeto-Burman languages with systems of pragmatically-conditioned ergativity, and (2) as an interaction between structure and pragmatic considerations in discourse.

Event Type: 
Lunch Talks