Ergative case assignment in Hindi-Urdu: Evidence from light verb compounds

Yash Sinha


Various accounts have been proposed for ergative/absolutive case-assignment in Hindi-Urdu (HU) within the Minimalist Program. (Ura 2006, Anand & Nevins 2006 etc.) Using facts about subject case-assignment in a particular type of light verb compound in HU as evidence, I propose a syntactic account for subject case-assignment in the language in general. This account relies on two claims: (i) absolutive case can be assigned by some I, V and v heads to the subject, or (in the case of v) to the object, and (ii) ergative case results from a special KP configuration, only grammatical when absolutive case cannot be assigned to the subject. I show that this proposal can also explain facts about verb agreement in the language.


Hindi; Urdu; ergativity; compound verb; light verb; case assignment

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