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The Rise and Fall of Ergativity in AramaicCycles of Alignment Change$
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Eleanor Coghill

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723806

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723806.001.0001

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The verbal system and alignment in earlier Eastern Aramaic

The verbal system and alignment in earlier Eastern Aramaic

(p.102) 5 The verbal system and alignment in earlier Eastern Aramaic
The Rise and Fall of Ergativity in Aramaic

Eleanor Coghill

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 treats the phase of Eastern Aramaic which precedes the modern dialects, namely Late Eastern Aramaic, covering Syriac, Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, and Classical Mandaic. After an introduction to the verbal system, the alignment patterns found are discussed. The description focuses on Syriac, the best known of these dialects, but makes comparisons to other dialects where they differ. The (proto‑)ergative Qṭil li perfect construction and its intransitive counterpart are introduced and their part in the tense–aspect–mood system outlined. The morphosyntactic behaviour of Qṭil li is then examined in detail, covering patient and agent marking, the role of information structure in how agents are expressed, and other syntactic behaviours, as well as its precise tense–aspect–mood values.

Keywords:   Late Eastern Aramaic, Syriac, Jewish Babylonian Aramaic, Classical Mandaic, verbal system, alignment, ergativity, tense–aspect–mood, syntax, information structure

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