from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A structuring property of the grammar of certain languages consisting in the differential treatment given to A (the subject of transitive verbs), in contrast to O (the object of transitive verbs) and S (the subject of intransitive verbs), which are treated similarly. This differential treatment may take the form of a special case marker (e.g., an affix or a particle) used with A but not with O or S, or of a specific agreement pattern (e.g., the verb may agree in person and number with A, but not with O and S).


From ergative +‎ -ity. (Wiktionary)


  • In many cases, the ergativity may be syntactic in nature and solved with something like movement, which would like the universal intact.

    Do Language Universals Exist?

  • Yes, like pretty much every other proposed universal, there are some potential counter-examples to universal linking rules, such as ergativity.

    Do Language Universals Exist?

  • But there are also a few languages claimed to have "deep ergativity," which can't be solved by movement.

    Do Language Universals Exist?

  • Strange, I've posted exactly about this pre-Etruscan *i- deictic and its relationship to animacy, ergativity, and PIE *i- before online somewhere Yahoogroups like Cybalist perhaps?

    Aegean phonotactics against word-initial /j/

  • What I personally think happened was that the pronominal case system transmogrified due to ergativity.

    Back to business: emphatic particles and verbal extensions

  • In the global scheme of things, ergativity isn't exotic or rare; it's natural and common!

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • It sometimes strikes me that these "ergative Pre-IE proponents" are simply intoxicated by the mere exoticness (or should we say apparent exoticness) of ergativity, seduced by a fashion that will some day pass (hopefully).

    Archive 2008-06-01


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