Grammatical relations in Katukina-Kanamari

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Katukina-Kanamari, possibly the only extant language of the Katukina family, features ergative alignment both in morphology and syntax. The paper is devoted to the description of the various domains of grammar where ergativity is present, as well as of a functionally conditioned accusative pattern. The main aim is to show, on the basis of empirical data, that on the formal side a syntactically ergative language can be quite isomorphic with an accusative language, the main differences being the always present split of transitivity in ergative languages and the interface between semantics and morphosyntax: the mapping of semantic roles onto grammatical relations is inverted between ergative and accusative systems, not only in the structure of the basic clause but also in valence changing processes.


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