Patient Primacy in Balinese
In Balinese, as in many Austronesian languages of Indonesia, the Philippines and Taiwan, a transitive verb may appear either in a morphologically unmarked construction in which the Patient is identified with the sole argument of a one-place predicate and is therefore arguably the subject or with a nasal-prefixed verb in a construction where the Agent is the subject. This raises the question of whether the language is ergative, accusative or neither. We argue that it could be considered ergative on the grounds that the Patient is identified with the sole argument of a one-place predicate in the unmarked transitive construction, and that certainly the Patient-subject construction is basic.
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