Variation in Kurdish ergativity

Posted on November 21, 2015 by

This week’s LEL research seminar features Yaron Matras and Carlie Hansen on variation in Kurdish ergativity. Tue 24th November, 4.15pm, Sam Alex A101.

Carlie is a Multilingual Manchester research assistant and LEL MA graduand, and the talk reports on research carried out with her dissertation supervisor, Prof. Yaron Matras. Here’s the abstract:

Kurmanji-Kurdish has so called ‘split morphological ergativity’: distinct morphological alignment in past tense transitive and intransitive predicates. Canonical ergativity has been shown to be in decline in the spoken language. We report on initial results of a survey of Kurdish dialects, which provide us with some insights into some of the parameters of variation in the marking of both transitive and intransitive predicates. We will show how the development is dynamic and highly localised, and motivated by a number of factors. In particular, we draw attention to semantic factors, notably the reinterpretation of the ‘ergative’ pattern as a marker of semantic agency rather than a marker of a particular argument structure (‘A’).

Come and join us!