Winter 2008, Vol. 39, No. 1, Pages 55-101
Posted Online January 4, 2008.
Morphological and Abstract Case
Julie Anne Legate
Department of Linguistics, 217 Morrill Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. firstname.lastname@example.org
This article examines the relationship between abstract and morphological case, arguing that morphological case realizes abstract Case features in a postsyntactic morphology, according to the Elsewhere Condition. A class of prima facie ergative-absolutive languages is identified wherein intransitive subjects receive abstract nominative Case and transitive objects receive abstract accusative Case; these are realized through a morphological default, which is often mislabeled as absolutive. Further support comes from split ergativity based on a nominal hierarchy, which is shown to have a morphological source. Proposals that case and agreement are purely morphological phenomena are critiqued.