Edited by Caroline Gentens, Lobke Ghesquière, William B. McGregor and An Van linden
[Studies in Language Companion Series 230] 2023
► pp. 237–265
Gooniyandi (Bunuban, Kimberley, north-west Australia), according to McGregor (1990a), has an ergative case-marker. Unusually, McGregor’s grammar does not identify a corresponding zero absolutive case-marker or case; nor does it discuss why there is none. This paper rectifies this lacuna and outlines the evidence against the recognition of an absolutive case-marker. The arguments concern both evidence for the absence of an absolutive case-marker, and absence of evidence for one. Thus it is possible to find ergativity in a grammatical subsystem of a language without corresponding absolutivity. I discuss some implications for the typology of ergativity, and examine conditions under which it is viable to identify an absolutive case and/or case-marker.