Chapter published in:Antipassive: Typology, diachrony, and related constructions
Edited by Katarzyna Janic and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
[Typological Studies in Language 130] 2021
► pp. 43–64
Antipassive propensities and alignment
Antipassive constructions were once thought to be unique to languages with ergative/absolutive alignment. Subsequent work demonstrated their existence in languages with nominative/accusative alignment as well. Here antipassives are described in languages with a third kind of system, agent/patient patterning. The languages come from four genealogically and areally unrelated families indigenous to North America: Siouan, Haida, Pomoan, and Iroquoian. Antipassives in all three types of systems, ergative, accusative, and agent/patient, serve similar semantic and discourse functions, eliminating less topicworthy participants from the core. But the perception of a special link to ergativity is not unmotivated. Two explanations are given. One is the formal salience of the shift in argument marking resulting from detransitivization in ergative systems. The other is a by-product of syntactic constructions which require absolutive status of one of the arguments. In many cases antipassivization is exploited to meet this requirement. These two factors are illustrated with material from Hiligaynon, a language of the Philippines.
Keywords: agent/patient patterning, definiteness, ergativity, generics, nominalization, question formation, relativization; Central Pomo, Haida, Hiligaynon, Lakota, Mohawk, Austronesian family, Pomoan family, Siouan family
Published online: 23 March 2021
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Ramat, Anna Giacalone
Cited by 4 other publications
Janic, Katarzyna & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
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