Complete and defective agreement in Kutchi
We describe and analyze the previously undocumented verbal agreement system of Kutchi (Indo-Aryan). We argue that Kutchi instantiates a novel type of split ergativity. First, it exhibits an aspect split in that agreement in non-perfective clauses behaves on a par with agreement in intransitive perfective clauses, in stark contrast to transitive perfective clauses. A striking property of Kutchi is that these asymmetries manifest themselves in the richness of agreement. In the former configurations, the verb agrees with the subject for person, number and gender. In the latter, on the other hand, agreement is systematically defective and reliable fails to cross-references certain φ-features. In addition to this aspect split, Kutchi displays a person split: While the verb normally agrees with the subject, it surprisingly fails to do so in transitive perfective clauses with a 1st person subject. Instead, it is the object that triggers agreement in these configurations, likewise in a defective manner. We will argue that these agreement asymmetries are syntactic in nature rather than morphological. Our analysis builds on, and extends, previous work by Laka (2006) and Coon (2010).
Keywords: split ergativity, aspect split
Published online: 09 March 2015
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