The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

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k1234567890y
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The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

Post by k1234567890y » Wed 08 Aug 2018, 22:28

For some reasons, I feel it might not be uncommon at all for conlangs to have both of the ergative alignment and SVO as the basic word order; however, I need to say, such a combination seems to be very scarce among natlangs.

Wikipedia's article on ergative-absolutive language says "Ergative languages tend to be either verb-final or verb-initial; there are few, if any, ergative SVO-languages."( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergative– ... e_language ), and cited a paper by Antje Lahne(a linguist of the Leipzig University: https://linguistlist.org/people/persona ... nID=145801 ), which discusses the scarcity of SVO ergative languages(the original link for the paper is dead, I uploaded the paper to an online space): https://anonfile.com/i1X7Hff3b2/Excludi ... guages.pdf

However, SVO ergative languages do exist, though by no means common, there's only one SVO ergative language attested in WALS, it is the Paumarí language in South America. Look at here: http://wals.info/combinations/98A_81A#2/25.5/148.9
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Re: The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

Post by eldin raigmore » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 03:23

Hmm. Wonder why?

Does head-marking vs dependent-marking correlate with word-order?
Are head-marking languages likely to be verb-initial and/or vice-versa?
Are dependent-marking languages likely to be verb-final and/or vice-versa?

Does locus-of-marking correlate with morphosyntactic alignment?
If so, how?
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Re: The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 06:18

eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 09 Aug 2018, 03:23
Hmm. Wonder why?

Does head-marking vs dependent-marking correlate with word-order?
Are head-marking languages likely to be verb-initial and/or vice-versa?
Are dependent-marking languages likely to be verb-final and/or vice-versa?

Does locus-of-marking correlate with morphosyntactic alignment?
If so, how?
maybe...I don't know about these though...sorry ;-;
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Re: The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

Post by Creyeditor » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 10:59

k1234567890y wrote:
Wed 08 Aug 2018, 22:28
For some reasons, I feel it might not be uncommon at all for conlangs to have both of the ergative alignment and SVO as the basic word order; however, I need to say, such a combination seems to be very scarce among natlangs.
eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 09 Aug 2018, 03:23
Hmm. Wonder why?
The paper that k linked offers two grammar theoretical explanations. I think however that there might be a simpler explanation. This might also answer some of your other questions.
Some dependent marking languages have no fixed word order.
Ergative languages are not usually head marking.
SOV word order is more common than SVO word order in dependent marking languages.
---
Therefore, languages which have dependent marking ergative alignment are rare.

Let's go through this again. We start by taking all languages. Then we have to exclude some dependent marking languages because they have no fixed word order. Next step we have to exclude almost all head marking languages because they do not have ergative alignment. (Of course we also have to exclude other word orders and accusative alignment languages). This leaves us with 17 out of 180 languages, IINM. Of these 16 are SOV and 1 is SVO. I think this is not significant compared to accusative marking languages where we have 26 SOV and 8 SVO languages.

Finally, I wanted to mention languages like Trumai which have both SOV and SVO and also ergative alignment. I guess there are more languages like this.
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Re: The scarcity of SVO ergative languages

Post by k1234567890y » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 17:15

Creyeditor wrote:
Thu 09 Aug 2018, 10:59
k1234567890y wrote:
Wed 08 Aug 2018, 22:28
For some reasons, I feel it might not be uncommon at all for conlangs to have both of the ergative alignment and SVO as the basic word order; however, I need to say, such a combination seems to be very scarce among natlangs.
eldin raigmore wrote:
Thu 09 Aug 2018, 03:23
Hmm. Wonder why?
The paper that k linked offers two grammar theoretical explanations. I think however that there might be a simpler explanation. This might also answer some of your other questions.
Some dependent marking languages have no fixed word order.
Ergative languages are not usually head marking.
SOV word order is more common than SVO word order in dependent marking languages.
---
Therefore, languages which have dependent marking ergative alignment are rare.

Let's go through this again. We start by taking all languages. Then we have to exclude some dependent marking languages because they have no fixed word order. Next step we have to exclude almost all head marking languages because they do not have ergative alignment. (Of course we also have to exclude other word orders and accusative alignment languages). This leaves us with 17 out of 180 languages, IINM. Of these 16 are SOV and 1 is SVO. I think this is not significant compared to accusative marking languages where we have 26 SOV and 8 SVO languages.

Finally, I wanted to mention languages like Trumai which have both SOV and SVO and also ergative alignment. I guess there are more languages like this.
thank you for explanation, linguist
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