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un- +‎ ergative, from the fact that in an ergative-absolutive language, the only case which uniquely identifies a volitional argument is the ergative case, which marks the agent of a transitive verb.



unergative (not comparable)

  1. (linguistics, of a verb) Intransitive and having an agent as its subject.
    • 2000, Hans Bennis, “Adjectives and Argument Structure”, in Peter Coopmans, Martin Everaert, and Jane Grimshaw, editors, Lexical Specification and Insertion (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory; 197), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, ISSN 0304-0763, pages 27–28:
      In Section 1 I will discuss the existence of a class of ergative adjectives in Dutch []. It will be demonstrated that there are a number of arguments supporting the claim that the class of adjectives should be divided into ergative and unergative adjectives. A large number of adjectives that are unergative according to the tests provided in Section 2 appear to be ergative with respect to their argument structure.



Related termsEdit


unergative (plural unergatives)

  1. (linguistics) An unergative verb.
    • 1998, Eloise Jelinek, Voice and Transitivity as Functional Projections in Yaqui, in Miriam Butt and Wilhelm Geuder, eds., “The Projection of Arguments”
      We have seen that Unergatives and Unaccusatives differ in 1) permitting the derivation of an Impersonal Passive, and 2) in licensing purpose clauses, since Unergatives have active subjects, and Unaccusatives do not.