Ergativity and the active-stative typology in Loma


  • Noel Rude


ergativity, case, typology, Mande, Lorna, pronouns


Ergativity would seem to be non-existant or at least quite rare in Africa. This lack, however, may be related to another continent-wide areal phenomenon: there is a paucity of morphological NP case marking according to either ergative or accusative typologies. It is thus possible that other more subtle attributes of the ergative organization of syntax are what should be sought in Africa. For example, in the Mande languages, as also in Celtic, phonological decay has produced a series of word initial consonant alternations. In Celtic these have come to function as part of a nominative-accusative case marking strategy. The situation is quite similar in Mande, but as this paper details for Lorna, the noun case system is ergative-absolute. And, accordingly, the pronoun system has active-stative characteristics.