from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of or relating to a language, such as Georgian, in which the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb is expressed by one grammatical case, and the subject of a transitive verb is expressed by another.
- adj. Of or relating to the grammatical case of the subject of a transitive verb in such a language.
- n. The ergative case.
- n. An ergative inflection.
- n. A nominal having an ergative form.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Used of various situations where the subject of transitive constructions have different grammatical cases or thematic relations to those of intransitive constructions.
- n. the ergative case
- n. an ergative verb or other expression
The 'ergative' marking patterns of Proto-Indo-European therefore do not fit the noun hierarchy as proposed by Silverstein 1976 and therefore no longer support the traditional ergative hypothesis for Proto-Indo-European.
These languages are rare and, for the most part, not well-studied, and my understanding is that the analysis of them as having deep ergative is controversial...which brings up the main point of the post again.
But there is another common language type in the world called ergative-absolutive.
The view that PIE case endings, nominative *-s and genitive *-ós, are somehow related by a magical ablaut and stemming from an ergative case came about from the fact that, based on the wealth of data from world languages that we now have, nominative cases which mark the subject of a sentence are supposed to be unmarked cases.
Wait a moment, my idea is that pre-PIE or whatever name you want to use, even "Indo-Aegean" was an ergative language which used an ergative marker *-sV related to the Hurro-Urartian one.
The similarity with the HU ergative is an argument in favour of this theory.
Paleoglot: Nipping the PIE ergative *-s theory right in the bud skip to main
Nipping the PIE ergative *-s theory right in the b...
Octavià: "Wait a moment, my idea is that pre-PIE ... was an ergative language which used an ergative marker *-sV related to the Hurro-Urartian one."
The ergative theory seemed to help solve this problem for some since it provided a specific pathway for this unusual marking to develop.