Jessica Coon – Introduction to Ergativity:

Ergative systems are found across the world’s languages and have informed generative theories on topics ranging from argument structure, to case, licensing, and agreement. This course provides an introduction to ergativity and related issues, covering both the cross-linguistic empirical landscape, as well as recent generative approaches to these patterns. The course will begin with an overview of morphological ergativity, including both ergative case and agreement systems. Specific topics to be covered include TAM- and person-based split ergativity, syntactic ergativity, and extraction asymmetries. Throughout the course we will discuss current debates in the literature on how such systems should be accounted for.

Tentative schedule:

M: survey of empirical patterns and why generativists should care

T: theoretical approaches: inherent vs. dependent case

W: TAM splits and approaches

Th: Person splits and approaches

F: Syntactic ergativity, extraction asymmetries, and approaches