OPTIONAL ERGATIVITY WITH UNERGATIVES IN PUNJABI
Pritha Chandra, Gurmeet Kaur, Usha Udaar/ Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
In this paper, we describe and analyze the previously undocumented ergative case patterns with unergatives in the Indo-Aryan language Punjabi. More specifically, we discuss unergative verbs in the language that optionally mark their subjects with an ergative case. We demonstrate that the lack of ergative marking is not associated with the intransitivity of the verbs since they obligatorily select implicit internal arguments, and are selected by transitive light verbs. We attempt a dependent case analysis (Coon 2010, 2013; Coon and Preminger 2012, 2013) of the Punjabi ergative, with optional feature inheritance between two v heads. The ergative is withheld in cases with no feature inheritance, forcing the external argument out of the vP domain containing the object. This paper ends with some preliminary observations on the mechanisms of optionality in the grammar.
Key words: unergatives, transitivity, light verbs, dependent case, feature inheritance