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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 origin and development of the Qṭil li construction

The origin and development of the Qṭil li construction

Chapter:
(p.162) 6 The origin and development of the Qṭil li construction
Source:
The Rise and Fall of Ergativity in Aramaic
Author(s):

Eleanor Coghill

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723806.003.0006

Chapter 6 deals with the origin of the (proto-)ergative Qṭil li construction. Following an account of its earliest attestations, the possibility of Iranian influence is discussed. Theories regarding the source construction are then evaluated, namely the possessive and passive theories. Then a different theory is proposed: that it originated as a construction taking an experiencer argument, which was later reanalysed as an agent. It is then shown how the dative experiencer scenario must be carefully distinguished from the possessive scenario, despite some commonalities. Other possible scenarios involving affectees are also assessed. After an interim summary, claims regarding the passive nature of the construction are evaluated. Next, the grammaticalization of Qṭil li into the modern forms is outlined, and the emergence of the (erstwhile) dative preposition l- as marking the focused NP agents of passives. After addressing the role of language contact in more depth, the chapter concludes with a summary.

Keywords:   ergativity, language contact, alignment change, experiencers, affectees, perfects, grammaticalization, passives, information structure

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