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Extra resources for Case and Agreement in Inuit
We finish this section with the overview in (29), which shows the predictions made by the two hypothesis. In (29), A indicates the Case of the subjects of intransitive verbs and Β the 'other' Case; NP,S indicates the grammatical subject and NP,VP the grammatical direct object. Unaccusativity and Ergativity 17 Latin Inuit Dyirbal — + — — — + + + D-str: S-str: Case: NP,S NP,S A(nom) NP,S NP,S A(abs) NP,VP NP,S A(abs) NP,VP NP,S A John dies D-str: S-str: Case: NP,VP NP,S A(nom) NP,VP NP,S A(abs) NP,S NP,S A(abs) NP,S NP,S A John eats cake D-str: S-str: Case: NP,S NP,S A(nom) NP,S NP,S Β(erg) NP,VP NP,VP Β (erg) NP,VP NP,VP A John eats cake D-str: S-str: Case: NP,VP NP,VP B(acc) NP,VP NP,VP A(abs) NP,S NP,S A(abs) NP,S NP,S Β morph.
Alternatively, there may also be an exceptional Case for the direct object. As we will see, the Inuit languages make use of all three of these options. Dyirbal, on the 24 CHAPTER I. ERGATTVTTY other hand only has option (1) and (2). In the presence or absence of option (3), we will demonstrate, lies the core of the typological distinction between ergative languages. Georgian only manifests an ergative pattern in the perfective aspect and is not an ergative language. In the perfective it makes use of option (3), which implies that the partial ergativity of Georgian is related to Inuit, rather than to Dyirbal.
However, as we have already mentioned, the NP under consideration is optional and oblique. If this NP were the direct object, Dyirbal would be a language with unrestricted 'indefinite object deletion', which would be quite exceptional. What would also be exceptional is its Dykbai 25 oblique character: in other languages accusative morphology is restricted to objects and not employed for oblique functions (such as instrumentals). From a typological point of view the properties of the ergative NP are the same as those of the agent-phrases of passive constructions, which in general are optional and are often expressed by oblique morphology.