Source constructions as a key to alignment change
The case of Aramaic
Alignment patterns in the Eastern varieties of modern Aramaic varieties are generally said to originate in an ergative source construction based on the so-called ‘passive’ participle qṭīl- ‘killed’ and the preposition l- where ergative person markers gradually extended to all intransitive predicates. While various source constructions have been suggested, this article demonstrates that most explanatory power and scope for the complex historical background of the alignment microvariation in Neo-Aramaic is offered by the typology of resultatives. There was instability from the beginning due to the versatile nature of resultatives and the increasing polyfunctionality of the preposition l-. This, in turn, indicates that the suggested source constructions for ergative alignment need not be mutually exclusive. Moreover, this also points to ergativity as merely one among several outcomes rather than the original source.
- 2.Alignment typology
- 3.Morphosyntax in nena and Ṭuroyo
- 3.1 nena morphosyntax
- 3.2Alignment debates: Ergative > semantic > accusative?
- 3.3Origin debates: Passive, possessive, experiencer?
- 4.Versatility of resultatives
- 4.1Resultative constructions
- 4.2Agent-oriented resultatives: What it takes to be a ‘possessive’ resultative
- 4.3Agent-oriented resultatives in Late Eastern Aramaic
- 4.4From resultative to anterior in Western Aramaic
- 4.5From resultative to anterior in nena
- 5.Polyfunctional dative preposition l-
- 5.1Functions of l-
- 5.2Morphosyntax of ‘non-canonical’ subjects
- 5.3Patient-orientations and inversion
- 5.4Non-canonical subjects in rpcs
- 6. tam-based marking and cross-system harmonization
Published online: 23 July 2021
Act.Thom. = Wright, William
Anon.Abr. = Brock, Sebastian P.
Aphr. = Wright, William
BLC = Drijvers, H. J. W.
Joh.Eph.LES = John of Ephesus
Uncited data come from the author’s fieldwork
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