The role of the absolutive object in morphological accessibility

Tollan, Rebecca
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Linguistic Inquiry (MIT Press)
This squib discusses environments in which a subject bears ergative case in the absence of an absolutive object, contrasting syntactically ergative languages (e.g., Q’anjob’al) with languages in which the ergative argument cannot be targeted for φ-agreement (e.g., Hindi-Urdu). In these environments, the parallels between Ā-movement and verb agreement with respect to the morphological accessibility hierarchy (Bobaljik 2008, Deal 2016) break down: in the absence of an absolutive object, syntactically ergative languages allow for extraction of the ergative argument, but in absolutive-only φ-agreement languages, agreement never targets the ergative argument.
This is the final accepted manuscript for the published article, and differs only from the published version in that minor copyedits were made. The version of record is available via the Linguistic Inquiry journal website:
φ-agreement , accessibility , syntactic ergativity , unergatives
Rebecca Tollan; The Role of the Absolutive Object in Morphological Accessibility. Linguistic Inquiry 2021; 52 (3): 640–654. doi: