Talk: Split-Ergativity in the Hittite language and possible sources of Ergativity

This talk is concerned with possible sources of ergativity cross-linguistically and the development of the – disputed – split-ergativity in the ancient Indo-European language of Hittite as a concrete example.

In this talk we examine (i) postulated sources in the development of the ergative subject alignment and (ii) the subject alignment of the ancient Indo-European Hittite language in the light of the aforementioned general discussion of ergativity.
There are several different sources possible for ergative alignment, and there are several different manifestations of ergativity in language systems. Six theories on the rise of ergativity are presented from the literature and substantiated with examples from a fictitious language. What needs to happen for ergativity to develop? Is there a single mechanism or are there several possibilities? If so, do those possibilities correlate with the different subtypes of (split-)ergative systems? Do we ever run out of suggestive questions or could we go on forever?
It has been disputed for decades, whether the Hittite language – as the only ancient Indo-European language – is a split-ergative language. We will discuss the Hittite ergativity with the help of several examples and on the background of the most important literature. After examining the mere existence of ergativity in Hittite, we draw the line back to the more general theories on the origin of ergativity by discussing where the (alleged?) ergativity in Hittite may come from.


Day: 2020-11-20
Start time: 09:00
Duration: 01:00
Room: Agathe Lasch
Track: Typology and Variational Linguistics
Language: en




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