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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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Conclusions

Conclusions

Chapter:
(p.287) 8 Conclusions
Source:
The Rise and Fall of Ergativity in Aramaic
Author(s):

Eleanor Coghill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723806.003.0008

The development and loss of ergativity in Aramaic are tightly bound with the grammaticalization of new perfects. Chapter 8 summarizes how the renewal of the Eastern Aramaic verbal system and reanalysis of an experiencer argument (and secondarily affectees) as agent brought about a change in alignment. A gap in the system of perfects then motivated the extension of the ergative construction Qṭil li to some and then all intransitives, bringing about a return to full accusative alignment. The chapter summarizes the types of new perfects that arose once Qṭil li shifted to a general past perfective, and examines on a more theoretical level the role that new perfects can play in bringing about tense-conditioned ergativity. It shows that this can only be expected under certain conditions and presents the possible paths that could lead to tense-conditioned ergative alignment, offering models of alignment change that can be tested on other languages.

Keywords:   tense-conditioned ergativity, Aramaic, alignment change, syntactic change, perfects, grammaticalization, typology

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