Case in Ingush syntax

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This paper reviews the morphological and syntactic patterns and the patterns of lexical derivation in Ingush (Nakh-Daghestanian, Caucasus) in pursuit of a typological generalization about alignment in the language. Morphological case paradigms are almost entirely ergative. Simple clause alignment is split among several salient and several minor patterns. Wherever constraints on syntactic phenomena refer to morphology (and many of them do), they are ergative (verb agreement, agreement climbing, argument sharing in serialization); if constraints are syntactic they refer almost exclusively to subjects (case climbing, reflexivization, control of infinitive). Patterns of lexical derivation are ergative for simplex verbs (a large but closed class) and varied for compound verbs. Overall, there is a good deal of what is at first glance syntactic ergativity but on closer analysis turns out to be due to ergative morphological constraints on syntactic processes.


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