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Mar 15, 2020

In this episode, Matt and Rowan talk about all sorts of ergative phenomena, and how to use them for conlanging. We will cite our sources by section they are first relevant towards, and also length.

0:14 Intro
Ergativity by R. M. W. Dixon - a book compiling the data and theories of the man who made Ergativity popular in modern linguistics - long
Linguitect 'Accusativity' episode -
'Ergativity Handbook' by Amy Rose Deal - - of the many things in here, one is about how the "ergative" property is not the same as the "absolutive" property - medium length
'Ergativity and Depth of Analysis' by Martin Haspelmath - - defends "ergativity" as a single category as being useful for cross-linguistic comparison - short

4:02 My Problems with the naïve definition
'Blue Bird of Ergavity' by Scott Delancey - - an overview of why the unitary definition of "ergativity" does not explain linguistic data - short
Linguitect 'Non-Default Cases' episode -
'Ergativity as Transitive Unaccusativity' by José-Luis Mendívil-Giro- - medium length
'Split Ergativity is not about Ergativity' by Jessica Coon & Omer Preminger - - medium length

21:01 - History and Context
Google N-Gram search showing how recently linguists started talking about "ergativity" -

23:54 - What langauges do Ergativity
'Manifestations of Ergativity in Amazonia' by Francesc Queixalós and Spike Gildea - - medium length

26:31 - marginally ergative phenomena

36:38 - Ways to be Ergative
Valpal -
WALS chart that could help you make European non-Basque Ergativity -
Ergativity in Amazonia edited by Francesc Queixalós and Spike Gildea - - long
'A Movement Theory of Ergativity' by Mark Campana - - explains raising ergativity in depth, including giving examples of the extraction asymmetry I talked about - long
'The rise of ergativity in Hindi' by Saartje Verbeke & Ludovic De Cuypere - - ergativity arising in Hindi - short

55:07 - Ideas for how to implement ergativity

A few example sentences used in this episode:
[ngatyu] ka -(rna) purlami
[I (abs)] tense - (1sg.nom) shout
I shout

[ngatyu-lurlu] ka -(rna)-ngku nyuntu nyanyi
[I (erg)] tense -(1sg.nom) -2sg.acc you(abs) see
I see you

na va’ai-a [A e le tama] [P le i'a]
pst [ERG the boy] [the fish]
‘The boy spotted the fish.’

na va’ai [A le tama] [P i le i'a]
pst [A the boy] [P OBL the fish]
‘The boy looked at the fish.’

ham phuul mahaknii
I-NOM flower-ACC smell-1S-PST
‘I smelled the flowers’

hamraa gais mahakal
I-DAT gas-NOM smell-3S-PST
‘I smelled gas’