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Extra resources for Case and Agreement in Inuit
We have shown in this subsection that Inuit Case patterns involving agents and themes make no use of accusative Case. Transitive verbs can be detransitivized, by antipassivization or passivization; in this respect Inuit does not differ from Dyirbal. The Inuit languages, however, also have transitive structures, in which agents are subjects and themes direct objects. e it is not accusative), but by finite INFL. This becomes particularly clear when one considers the behaviour of direct objects in clauses that do not contain this kind of INFL, non-finite clauses: in principle such clauses may not contain direct objects.
3. Syntactically Ergative Languages There exists at least one ergative language for which it is claimed that its syntactic structure crucially differs from that of nominative-accusative languages: we refer to Dyirbal. Dyirbal is an Australian language spoken in North Queensland, which is extensively described in Dixon (1972). 5* We will now discuss two arguments that indicate that the theme of transitive verbs in Dyirbal has the status of grammatical subject. 1. 2. we saw that in morphologically ergative languages the NP that in finite clauses had the ergative Case became a PRO in non-finite clauses, and we claimed that this formed an indication for the subject status of this NP.
Both hypotheses can be shown to be problematic from a theoretical as well as from an empirical point of view. We will now proceed to discuss the problems presented by the hypotheses. A Cntical Review of the Two Hypotheses 15 In the first place, the Morphological Case Hypothesis conflicts with the theory of abstract Case, at least if one assumes that the morphological realization of Case is simply the spelling-out of the abstract Case assigned in syntax. As the Morphological Case Hypothesis claims that the derivation of S-structures in morphologically ergative languages is identical to that in accusative languages, it has to assume that Case theory functions in the same way in both types of language.