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.

Course schedule:

M: survey of empirical patterns and puzzles

T: theoretical approaches: inherent vs. dependent case

W: two types of ergative agreement and a typological gap

Th: extraction asymmetries and syntactic ergativity

F: TAM- and person-based split ergativity