Aspect as the source of diathesis in NorthEastern Neo-Aramaic and beyond with remarks on transitivity, accusativity, ergativity and case

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North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic (NENA) displays two verbal paradigms: one whose subject is in the nominative and one whose subject is diachronically appended to the /l-/ (dative) preposition. Synchronically, this state of affairs can be interpreted as split-ergativity. Those paradigms stem from participial forms, nonperfect and perfect respectively. Since the difference is of aspect not diathesis, the perfect form can serve both as active or passive. The function it fulfills in each case is determined by use and construction, namely by pragmatics and syntax. Typology supports the dative rather than possessive interpretation of the paradigm II suffixes inasmuch as in many languages with ergative or split-ergative constructions, the ergative morpheme harkens back diachronically or is identical synchronically with the dative, instrumental &c., not with an originally genitive morpheme as such. These dynamic and functional explanations hopefully shed new light on synchronic data which until now seemeed contradictory, ambiguous and obscure.


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