1 Introduction

Pazar Laz (PL) is an endangered South-Caucasian language spoken in North-Eastern Turkey. It exhibits an active alignment case system which remains constant across all tense and aspect series (cf. Harris 1985; Öztürk & Pöchtrager 2011). As an active alignment language, it presents a split between different types of intransitives, i.e., unergatives and unaccusatives as illustrated in (1). While the subjects of unergatives as in (1b) are marked with ergative case similar to the ergative subjects of transitives as given in (1a), subjects of unaccusatives in (1c) surface with nominative case which is zero in form in parallel to the objects in transitive constructions. Note that unlike the pattern available in languages like Georgian – a close relative of PL, ergative case is not restricted to perfective contexts, but is available across all aspects and tenses. In terms of agreement, both ergative and nominative subjects qualify to govern the suffixal agreement on the verb as seen in (1). Note that the choice of ergative vs. nominative case for the subject of an intransitive is to a certain extent dependent on thematic roles. While initiators including agents and causers require ergative case, undergoers such as patients and themes take nominative case (cf. Öztürk 2019a):1

    1. (1)
    1. a.
    1. Transitive
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. t’abaxi-Ø
    2. plate-NOM
    1. çx-u.2
    2. wash-3PST
    1. ‘Ali washed the plate.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Unergative
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. k’iy-u.
    2. scream-3PST
    1. ‘Ali screamed.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Unaccusative
    1. Ali-Ø
    2. Ali-NOM
    1. mo-xt-u.
    2. PV-come-3PST
    1. ‘Ali came.’

When we focus on unergative predicates in PL, we mainly see two patterns. One pattern, as given in (1b) and (2), mainly comprises verbs of sound/smell/light emission. The verbal root can be onomatopoeic. The subject can be animate or inanimate, but is always marked with ergative case:2

    1. (2)
    1. a.
    1. K’at’u-k
    2. cat-ERG
    1. p’iy-u.
    2. meow-3PST
    1. ‘The cat meowed.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Purki-k
    2. flower-ERG
    1. msk’va
    2. nice
    1. gont’-u.
    2. smell-3PST
    1. ‘The flower smelled nice.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Ayna-k
    2. mirror-ERG
    1. farfal-u.
    2. shine-3PST
    1. ‘The mirror shined.’

The second pattern typically comprises activity denoting manner verbs with ergative subjects. Different from the first pattern, these verbs always require the valency marker i-, which we will analyze as a pronominal clitic standing for an argument position in Section 3:

    1. (3)
    1. a.
    1. Bere-k
    2. child-ERG
    1. i-bir-u.
    2. VAL-play-3PST
    1. ‘The child played.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Bere-k
    2. child-ERG
    1. i-gzal-u.
    2. VAL-walk-3PST
    1. ‘The child walked.’

In this study, focusing on eventive predicates in PL, we will argue that both unergative patterns given above always involve an overtly filled object position and behave simply on a par with regular transitive verbs. As dynamic verbs requiring an initiator, unergatives in PL exhibit Neo-Burzio Dependency defined by Nash (2018), who proposes that in languages like Georgian the availability of Agent/Initiator role is dependent on the availability of a vP internal argument. v can be argument-selecting or not and small “in some languages v cannot be eventive unless it selects a theme” (Nash 2017b:8) and in the case of Georgian she suggests that “this constraint prevents a predicate that does not have a theme to have its external argument interpreted as an initiator introduced by Voice[+D] [where D stands for the introduction of a referential DP]. In other words, the initiator of the event must “see”/c-command another argument projected in its complement” (Nash 2017b:9). Nash (2018) introduces this language-specific restriction as the Neo-Burzio Dependency:

(4) Neo-Burzio Dependency: Voice assigns Agent role to its argument iff it selects an argument-selecting complement. (Nash 2018: 22)

As a result of Neo-Burzio Dependency which Nash (2018) argues to hold in Georgian, the thematic property of the external argument is strictly correlated with the thematic property of the predicate. If the predicate selects a lower argument, the external is interpreted as an Agent or a Causer, and a dynamic/eventive reading becomes possible.

We will argue that this transitivity requirement stemming from Neo-Burzio Dependency in PL is not restricted to unergatives but also extends to unaccusatives, which are also eventive. In parallel to Öztürk & Taylan (2017), we will show that there is a strict co-dependency between the undergoer and the presence of an initiator. In other words, if the structure involves an undergoer, the initiator should also be available and if there is an initiator the undergoer position should also be activated. This condition implies that all eventive verbal predicates project transitively in PL and that the language does not syntactically differentiate between unergatives and unaccusatives. As unergatives and unaccusatives have the same architecture, there are no true intransitives in the language. Thus, PL lacks the true unaccusative pattern (e.g. anticausatives) found in languages like English, where no initiator is available syntactically. We will further argue that the transitivity requirement for eventive predicates is a consequence of how events are defined in PL. In line with Ritter & Rosen (2000)’s typology, where languages are classified as Initiation languages or Delimitation languages based on whether they define an event in terms of its initial bound or its terminal bound. As a very conservative Initiation-language, PL has to syntactically express the initiator in all types of eventive predicates, which blocks the true unaccusative patterns.

The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 would introduce the morphosyntactic properties of unergatives highlighting the parallelism between transitives and unergatives in PL. Section 3 will focus on the pronominal clitic nature of the morpheme i- in PL, which will play a crucial role in establishing the transitivity of unergatives. Section 4 will discuss the unaccusatives formed with -(u)r and argue that they are also not true unaccusative constructions but are syntactically transitive. Section 5 will focus on agentive unergatives and verbs of emission and claim that they also have a transitive syntax on a par with unaccusatives in the language. Section 6 will address the question why all eventive predicates require a transitive syntax based on Ritter & Rosen (2000)’s typology. Finally, Section 7 will introduce our concluding remarks.

2 Morphosyntactic properties of unergatives in PL

When we take a closer look at the morphosyntactic properties of unergatives in PL, we observe that the choice of ergative case for the subject is not the only parallelism between unergatives and transitives. Unergative verbs also share the same set of agreement suffixes with transitive predicates in contrast to unaccusatives which require a different set of agreement suffixes (cf. Öztürk & Pöchtrager 2011). As illustrated in Table 1, in the present tense, we see a clear split between third person singular agreement markers depending on the verb type:3

Table 1

Agreement Suffixes in PL.

PERSON PERSON SUFFIXES
PAST PRESENT
1 SG -i
2 SG -i Ø
3 SG -u Transitive
Unergative
-s
Unaccusative -n

As seen in (5a) and (5b), the third person singular suffix in the present appears as -s in transitives and unergatives, respectively. However, in the case of unaccusatives, the suffix appears as -n:4

    1. (5)
    1. a.
    1. Transitive
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. t’abaxi
    2. plate
    1. çx-am-s.
    2. wash-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is washing the plate.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Unergative
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. k’iy-am-s.
    2. scream-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is screaming.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Unaccusative
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. mo-l-u-n.
    2. PV-come-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is coming.’

Another parallelism between transitives and unergatives that we observe in (5) is the choice of thematic suffixes (TS, as extensively discussed in Taylan & Öztürk (2014); Öztürk and Taylan (2017). As seen in (5a) and (5b), transitives and unergatives share the same TS -am, while the unaccusative in (5c) selects a different TS, i.e. -u(r).5 There are four TSs in PL; -e(r)/-u(r)/-am/-um, which are obligatory in the imperfective both in present and past tenses, but do not surface in the perfective. Both eventive verbs and statives are compatible with TSs in PL and the choice of TS is sensitive to the lexical aspect and the argument structure of the verb used. As purely functional morphemes denoting imperfectivity, TSs in PL never occur in derived nouns such as masdars.6 Ramchand & Svenonius (2013) and Ramchand (2017) show that perfective and imperfective belongs to different functional zones. While the perfective belongs to a higher zone, imperfective (e.g. the progressive in English) which imposes selectional restrictions on the lexical aspect of the verb and which has a close connection with the verb and its arguments belongs in the lower verbal zone. They argue that imperfective is located in the projection called EventP, which is introduced above InitP where the initiator is located in a Ramchandian phrase structure (cf. Ramchand 2008).7 In parallel to Nash (2017a), Taylan & Öztürk (2014) and Öztürk &Taylan (2017) also take the TS – the imperfective marker as the head of this projection.8 Dominating the predicate domain including all the arguments, TSs are selected based on the argument structure and the lexical aspect of the verb, as seen in (6).

    1. (6)

In PL, agentive unergatives as in (7a) and unergative verbs of emission as in (5b) take TS -am, in parallel to transitives as illustrated in (5a) and (7b). Note that in terms of lexical aspect, -am is compatible with atelic activities, as well as telic accomplishments.

    1. (7)
    1. a.
    1. Agentive unergative
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-çaliş-am-s.
    2. VAL-work-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is working.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Transitive
    1. Ahmedi-k
    2. Ahmet-ERG
    1. dişk’a
    2. wood
    1. mo-ğ-am-s.
    2. PV-bring-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ahmet is bringing the wood.’

As seen above, the TS that unergatives select are in parallel to the ones selected by transitives and are clearly differentiated from the TS -u(r) that unaccusatives select as seen in (8). Unaccusatives which always require the TS -u(r) include achievements (8a), degree achievements (8b) and verbs of directed motion (8c), which all express a change of state for the undergoer subject:

    1. (8)
    1. a.
    1. Balon-epe
    2. balloon-PL
    1. t’vats-u-n.
    2. pop-TS-3COP
    1. ‘The balloons are popping.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Tzari
    2. water
    1. nçx-u-n.
    2. heat-TS-3COP
    1. ‘The water is heating up.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Bere
    2. child
    1. nca-şe
    2. tree-ALL
    1. ey-ul-u-n.
    2. PV-climb-TS-3COP
    1. ‘The child is climbing the tree.’

Even though in terms of case, agreement and TS choice unergatives align with transitives and are clearly differentiated from unaccusatives, there is one particular construction which all the three verb types are compatible with. This is the active impersonal construction (AIC) in PL (cf. Öztürk & Taylan 2017). As we will show below, PL does not have separate intransitive constructions such as passive, inchoative, middle and anticausative constructions. Instead AIC is the construction available to meet these readings in the language, which we will argue to be a transitive construction in the following section.9 As it will become clearer shortly, AIC is not the counterpart of non-active voice found in languages like Greek or Albanian (cf. Kallulli 2007). Instead it is an active impersonal construction found in languages like Breton, Irish, Polish and Icelandic (cf. Legate 2014). This construction requires the valency marker i-, which we will show to be a pronominal clitic, and in the imperfective, the TS -e(r) is used. The subject in this construction is nominative and again the –n set agreement based on the third person copula is used in parallel to unaccusatives. The AIC denotes a strictly externally caused agentive reading referring to a human agent:

    1. (9)
    1. a.
    1. Dişk’a
    2. wood
    1. m-i-ğ-e-n.
    2. PV-VAL-bring-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Someone is bringing the wood.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Oxori
    2. house
    1. i-tzopx-e-n.
    2. VAL-build-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Someone is building the house.’

As seen in (9), transitives are compatible with AICs, so are unergatives and unaccusatives as shown in (10a) and (10b), respectively. The use of unergatives and unaccusatives with AICs lead to an impersonal passive-like reading:

    1. (10)
    1. a.
    1. Unergative
    1. İ-çaliş-in-e-n.
    2. VAL-work-CAUS-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘People are working.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Unaccusative
    1. Mo-i-lv-in-e-n.
    2. PV-VAL-come-CAUS-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘People are coming.’

Table 2 summarizes the morphosyntactic properties of different verb types in PL as also extensively discussed in Taylan & Öztürk (2014) and Öztürk & Taylan (2017). We observe that each verb type is associated with different case, agreement and TS patterns. As seen very clearly in the table, unergatives pattern with transitives in terms of case, agreement and the TS choice, hence they are highly parallel. We will take this parallelism to argue for the transitive nature of unergatives in PL. On the other hand, there is another significant parallelism that we observe between agentive unergatives and the AIC, that is the obligatory use of the valency marker i-. Unergatives and AIC behave differently in terms of case, agreement and TS choice but they both require i-. We will argue that this marker in both constructions is a pronominal clitic and it will play a significant role in arguing for the transitivity of unergatives so in the following sections, we will focus on the morphosyntactic properties of this marker in PL.

Table 2

Morphosyntactic Properties of Verb Classes in PL.

OVERT ARGUMENTS SUFFIXAL AGREEMENT VALENCY MARKER THEMATIC SUFFIX
Transitives Ergative Subject
Nominative Object
-s set ------ -am
Unergatives 1. Agentive Ergative Subject -s set i- -am
2. Verbs of emission Ergative Subject -s set ------ -am
Unaccusatives Nominative Object -n set ------ -u(r)
Active Impersonal Construction Nominative Object -n set i- -e(r)

3 The valency marker i-

As discussed above, the valency marker i- in PL is obligatory in agentive unergatives and also in AICs across all tense and aspect series. Another structure where we find the same marker in PL is the reflexive constructions. As seen in (11), there are two ways to form reflexivization in PL. The coindexation between the subject and the object in (11a) can be achieved as in (11b) with the use of a reflexive pronoun çendi ‘self’ which is borrowed from Turkish kendi ‘self’. Alternatively, the verb can be marked with the valency marker i-, which again indicates the coindexation between the subject and the object as in (11c). As seen in (11d), it is not possible for i- to co-occur with çendi:

    1. (11)
    1. a.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. yali-s
    2. mirror-DAT
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. b-dzir-i.
    2. 1-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw Ali in the mirror.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. yali-s
    2. mirror-DAT
    1. çendi
    2. self
    1. b-dzir-i.
    2. 1-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw myself in the mirror.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. yali-s
    2. mirror-DAT
    1. v-i-dzir-i.
    2. 1-REFL-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw myself in the mirror.’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. *Ma
    2.   I
    1. yali-s
    2. mirror-DAT
    1. çendi
    2. self
    1. v-i-dzir-i.
    2. 1-REFL-see-1PST
    1.   ‘I saw myself in the mirror.’

Both in reflexives and in AICs, the verbs marked with i- have one of the overt arguments missing. In reflexives, i- targets the internal argument, whereas in AICs the external argument appears to be reduced. The question is whether i- truly reduces the valency of the predicate yielding a true intransitive or whether it fulfills the argument function itself as some kind of a pronominal clitic keeping the valency of the predicate intact. We will argue for the latter.

Let us first check whether there is any evidence for the clitic status of this marker. As extensively discussed in the literature (Holinsky 1991; Kutscher et al. 1995; Lacroix 2009; Öztürk & Pöchtrager 2011; among others), the verbal complex in Laz can host both preverbal and postverbal markers. It has been observed that the postverbal markers exhibit an agglutinative nature and behave as suffixes, whereas the preverbal material which typically cover sets of person markers, valency markers, negation and modal adverbs on the other hand, compete for limited morphological slots exhibiting a clitic-like behavior. For example, based on a person-case constraint, prefixal agreement markers compete with each other for the same slot as illustrated in (12). While in (12a) the first person subject marker wins over the third person object, in (12b) the second person object wins over the first person subject. Note that in each case only one of the arguments can be realized preverbally on the verbal complex. Having both the subject and the object markers simultaneously leads to ungrammaticality as in (12c):

    1. (12)
    1. a.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. b-dzir-i.
    2. 1SBJ-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw Ali.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. si
    2. you
    1. g-dzir-i.
    2. 2OBJ-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw you.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. si
    2. you
    1. *b-g-dzir-i.
    2.   1SBJ-1OBJ-see-1PST
    1. ‘I saw you.’

We observe a similar pattern of competition among the valency markers which also include the marker i-. The reflexive valency marker i- in (13a) can also be replaced by a causative valency marker o- when an external causeP is introduced to the structure. Similarly in PL, the i- in AICs is replaced with the applicative marker a- in modal applicative constructions as in (14b) (cf. Öztürk 2012; Demirok (2018)):

    1. (13)
    1. a.
    1. Bere-k
    2. child-ERG
    1. i-mbon-u.
    2. VAL-wash-3PST
    1. ‘The child washed.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Nani-k
    2. mother-ERG
    1. bere-s
    2. child-DAT
    1. o-mbon-ap-u.
    2. VAL-wash-CAUS-3PST
    1. ‘The mother made the child wash himself.’
    1. (14)
    1. a.
    1. Ar
    2. a
    1. oxori
    2. house
    1. mv-i-rg-e-n.
    2. PV-VAL-build-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘A house is being built.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ar
    2. a
    1. oxori
    2. house
    1. xordza-s
    2. woman-dat
    1. mv-a-rg-e-n.
    2. PV-appl-build-TS-3prs
    1. ‘A house is being built for the woman.’

In the literature, it has been shown that clitics cannot occur in nominalizations or in certain types of participles (cf. Wood 2015 for Icelandic; Kayne 1975; Pesetsky 1995 for Romance). Similary in PL, i- disappears under nominalization as in (15a) and in the formation of stative progressive participles as in (15b):

    1. (15)
    1. a.
    1. Bere-şi
    2. child-GEN
    1. o-mbon-u
    2. NMZL-wash-NMZL
    1. /
    2. /
    1. *o-i-mbon-u.
    2.   NMZL-VAL-wash-NMZL
    1. ‘The child’s washing (himself)’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Mbon-eri
    2. wash-PTCP
    1. /
    2. /
    1. *i-mbon-eri,
    2.   VAL-wash-PTCP
    1. bere-k
    2. child-ERG
    1. lebe-pe-muşi
    2. dirt-PL-3POSS
    1. ko-gam-i-yon-u.
    2. PV-PV-VAL-rid.off-3PST
    1. ‘Washing himself, the child got rid off the dirts on him.’

Given these patterns we take i- to be a pronominal clitic which stands for an argument in the spirit of Wood (2015), which then cliticizes onto the verbal complex. In the case of reflexives, we take it to occupy the object position standing for the undergoer which is bound by the subject as shown in (16). If it is indeed a pronominal clitic which fulfills the object function, this would also explain why i- cannot co-occur with the full reflexive pronoun çendi as illustrated in (11d):

    1. (16)

In the case of AICs, given that the overt DP stands for the object, i- should be replacing the ergative marked agent. The question is whether we have any evidence for the agentive argument status of i- in AICs which obligatorily denote external causation brought about by an agentive human subject. When we apply the well-known tests for agentivity to AICs, we see that the construction is compatible with an agentive interpretation despite the lack of an overt ergative marked subject. As seen in (17), AICs can be modified by purpose clauses, instruments and initiator-oriented adverbs (cf. Öztürk & Taylan 2017):

    1. (17)
    1. Cami
    2. window
    1. k’asi-te
    2. intention-with
    1. amolva
    2. enter
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. ç’ak’uç’i-te
    2. hammer-with
    1. i-t’ax-e-n.
    2. VAL-break-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The window is intentionally broken with a hammer in order to enter (the place).’

The only agentivity test which AICs fail to pass is the use of an agentive by-phrase. Recall that PL does not have separate passive or anticausative constructions and simply makes use of AICs to accommodate these readings. The language simply lacks by-phrases or by itself phrases which are used to identify passives and anticausatives, respectively (cf. Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou, Schäfer 2006).10 We argue that this follows from the presence of the valency marker i- in AICs. As a pronominal clitic i- saturates the external argument of the predicate, disallowing the introduction of another initiator into the structure through by-phrases. Similar to the i- standing for the undergoer in reflexives, the i- in structures like (9) semantically closes the initiator (cf. Chierchia 1995), hence stands for the external argument.

An anonymous reviewer suggests that AIC might be similar to the Icelandic grammatical object passives which Legate (2014) discusses. Icelandic grammatical object passives are compatible with by-phrases, however, this is not the case in PL. AIC are more similar to the impersonals in Polish, Irish and Breton impersonals which Legate (2014) also discusses. These impersonal constructions similar to the AIC in PL are incompatible with by-phrases strictly requiring a human interpretation. Legate (2014) proposes that these impersonals hosts a D element in Spec, VoiceP referring to humans saturating the external argument of the verb. Given this referential element, for example, Irish impersonals can antecede a reciprocal as seen in (18b), fully in parallel to clauses with overt subjects as in (18a):

    1. (18)
    1.  
    1. a.
    1. Chonaic
    2. see.PST
    1. siad a chéile.
    2. they each.other
    1. ‘They saw each other.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Táthar
    2. be.PR.IMPERS
    1. a’ strócadh a chéile.
    2. tear.PROG each.other
    1. ‘People are tearing each other apart.’

Similar to the Irish impersonals, we see that the pronominal clitic i- can antecede reflexives in PL. Hence they act as syntactically active referential subjects. As seen in (19a), the reflexive anaphor çendi in the object position needs to be bound by the ergative subject to be licensed. Similarly, in (19b) in AICs, çendi in the object position is again licensed despite the lack of an ergative subject. We argue that it is the pronominal clitic i- in Spec, InitP which binds the anaphor çendi in Spec, ProcP:

    1. (19)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. çendi-Ø
    2. self-NOM
    1. var
    2. NEG
    1. msk’v-am-s.11
    2. praise-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali does not praise himself.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. AIC
    1. Çendi-Ø
    2. self-NOM
    1. var
    2. NEG
    1. i-msk’v-e-n.
    2. VAL-praise-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘One does not praise himself.’

In parallel to Öztürk & Taylan (2017), the representation we assume for AICs is given in (20), where the pronominal clitic i- occupies the external argument position. Hence it starts out in an argument position but then cliticizes on the inflected verb.12 As the clitic i- stands for an initiator in Spec, InitP, this implies that AICs always involve an initiator in the argument position and cannot consitute anticausatives or passives, which lack an initiator.13

    1. (20)

Another interesting piece of evidence for the presence of an agentive layer in AICs can be seen in the translation of such sentences into Turkish by Turkish-Laz bilinguals, which was also discussed by Öztürk & Taylan (2017). Even though Turkish morphologically differentiates between passives and anticausatives, Laz informants translated the examples with AICs into Turkish with passive morphology which allows for an agentive reading and systematically rejected the anticausative version. For example, the corresponding Turkish form of the PL sentence in (21) can only be (22b), but not (22a) according to our bilingual informants. Yet Laz informants could never introduce a by-phrase to the construction in (21), even if they match this reading with the passive in Turkish, which allows for a by-phrase as in (22b). Given these patterns we argue that AICs involve an InitP whose Spec hosts the pronominal clitic i- which blocks the introduction of a by-phrase:

    1. (21)
    1. Ek’na
    2. door
    1. mol-i-dz-e-n.
    2. PV-VAL-close-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The door is being closed (by someone).’
    1. (22)
    1. a.
    1. Anticausative
    1. Kapı
    2. door
    1. (kendiliğ-in-den/*biri
    2. self-3POSS-ABL/
    1. tarafından)
    2. someone by
    1. kapa-n-ıyor.
    2. close-NACT-IMPF
    1. ‘The door closes by itself/*by someone.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Passive
    1. Kapı
    2. door
    1. (biri
    2. someone
    1. tarafından/ * kendiliğ-in-den)
    2. by/ self-3POSS-ABL
    1. kapa-t-ıl-ıyor.
    2. close-CAUS-PASS-IMPF
    1. ‘The door is being closed by someone/*by itself.’

Another case where we have i- surfacing is the agentive unergatives as discussed in the introduction. Such verbs always require the valency marker i- on the verbal complex in addition to an overtly ergative marked agent:

    1. (23)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-gzal-am-s.
    2. VAL-walk-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is walking.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-çaliş-am-s.
    2. VAL-work-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is working.’

Given the above discussion regarding the argumental nature of the pronominal clitic i-, the question is whether i- in (23) also fullfills a similar function, that is, whether occupying the undergoer position, it is coindexed with the ergative subject similar to the case of reflexives as depicted in (24). In other words, do unergatives with i- have a transitive syntax in PL?:

    1. (24)

Before answering this question affirmatively we will first take a look at another intransitive pattern available in PL, namely, the unaccusatives formed with the TS -u(r) denoting a change of state from the perspective of transitivity, which will pave the way for us to argue that unergatives are also transitives in PL.

4 Unaccusatives with -u(r)

Recall that unaccusatives compatible with the TS -u(r) in the imperfective typically denote an eventuality where the undergoer has gone through some change of state, as shown in (25). The sole argument surfaces with nominative case and exhibits -n-set suffixal agreement with the verb:

    1. (25)
    1. a.
    1. Balon-epe
    2. balloon-PL
    1. t’vats-u-n.
    2. pop-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The balloons are popping.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Tzari
    2. water
    1. nçx-u-n.
    2. heat-TS-3COP
    1. ‘The water is heating up.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Bere
    2. child
    1. mo-l-u-n.
    2. PV-come-TS-3COP
    1. ‘The child is coming.’

As seen in (25), verbs denoting achievements, degree achievements and verbs of directed motion fall into this group, as extensively discussed by Taylan & Öztürk (2014). The common property of all these verbs is that they express a scalar change in the sense of Rappaport Hovav (2008) for the undergoer. Rappaport Hovav defines scalar change as ‘one which involves an ordered set of changes in one particular direction of values of a single attribute and so can be characterized as movement in a particular direction along the scale’ (Rappaport Hovav 2008: 17). Within a Ramchandian phrase structure, these verbs all involve a ResP – the layer associated with change of state, as depicted in (26). The nominative argument is simultaneously both the Resultee and the Undergoer. These verbs at first sight appears to form what one can call the set of anticausatives in PL. However, we will argue for the structure in (26) which not only involves a ProcP and a ResP layer but also an InitP layer:

    1. (26)

As we will discuss shortly, these verbs are different from what is known as anticausatives which would only consist of ProcP and ResP layers lacking InitP in languages like English. We will argue that even though there is only one overt DP argument marked with nominative case in the structure, these constructions do not qualify as anticausatives, but they are underlyingly transitive and require an InitP layer which hosts a null initiator. Such unaccusative verbs can be internally or externally caused. If they are internally caused, the nominative DP would be simultanously associated with the roles of Resultee, Undergoer and Initiator in the representation in (26). If they are externally caused, while the overt DP fulfills the roles of Undergoer and Resultee, the InitP layer would host a covert initiator.

There are two arguments supporting the representation in (26). First, just as it was the case in AICs, it is again possible to detect the implicit initiator with unaccusative verbs which take -u(r) by using initiator-oriented adverbs, purpose clauses and instrumentals, even though they do not involve the valency marker i- unlike AICs (27), as discussed in Öztürk & Taylan (2017):

    1. (27)
    1. a.
    1.   Ham
    2.   this
    1. metali
    2. metal
    1. matzindi
    2. ring
    1. oyapu
    2. make
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. ndrukh-u-n.
    2. bend-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘*This metal is bending to make a ring.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1.   Yaği
    2.   butter
    1. xalva
    2. halva
    1. oyapu
    2. make
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. ndgul-u-n.
    2. melt-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘*The butter is melting to make halva.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Noti
    2. note
    1. k’elemi-te
    2. pen-with
    1. Ali-s
    2. Ali-DAT
    1. parti
    2. party
    1. goşinu
    2. remind
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. nç’ar-u-n.
    2. write-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The note is written (in a written state) with a pen to remind Ali the party.’

The fact that the verbs with -u(r) in (27) exhibits the same pattern with AICs in terms of the use of purpose clauses and instrumentals implies that these constructions also point to the presence of an initiator in addition to the nominative undergoer, even in the absence of the valency marker i-.

As pointed out by one of the anonymous reviewers, one question which arises at this point is whether -u(r) constructions can be analyzed on a par with passive constructions which also allow for external argument semantics, but are syntactically intransitive. In other words, can these constructions still be syntactically intransitive like passives? The second argument supporting the transitive nature of these constructions comes from the data in (28). As seen in (28a), these constructions can also license the reflexive çendi and be interpreted with a transitive meaning, given the right kind of context, in the same fashion as the AIC constructions illustrated in (28b). This implies that they are not on a par with passives:14

    1. (28)
    1. a.
    1. Çendi
    2. self
    1. ndrukh-u-n.
    2. bend-TS-PRES.3PS
    1. ‘Something is bending itself.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Çendi
    2. self
    1. i-ndrikh-e-n.
    2. VAL-bend-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Somone is bending himself.’

Furthermore, it is not possible to use by-phrases to show that these constructions are passive in nature, as the language simply lacks such adjuncts. Also -u(r) is compatible with the verbs of directed motion as seen in (25c), which are typically not compatible with passives across languages. Verbs of directed motion can also be used in AIC and both in their use in AIC and in their use with -u(r) and can license the reflexive çendi, not in the adverbial sense, but implying a transitive use. As seen in (29) they are compatible with purpose clauses and instruments:

    1. (29)
    1. a.
    1. Çendi
    2. self
    1. cari
    2. food
    1. oşkhomu
    2. eat
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. araba-te
    2. car-with
    1. m-ul-u-n.
    2. PV-come-CAUS-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘He is coming (i.e. bringing himself) to have dinner by car.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Çendi
    2. self
    1. cari
    2. food
    1. oşkhomu
    2. eat
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. araba-te
    2. car-with
    1. mo-i-lv-in-e-n.
    2. PV-VAL-come-CAUS-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘People are coming (i.e.bringing themselves) to have dinner by car.’

Given these pattern, in parallel to Öztürk & Taylan (2017), we take the constructions with -u(r) as having a transitive construction involving both an initiator and an undergoer layer and we conclude that they are not like passives. At this point one can ask the difference between the use of AIC and -u(r) constructions, given that we argue both are transitive. Both unaccusatives with -u(r) and AICs take nominative marked subjects and -n-set agreement and hence are very similar to one another. However, there is a clear difference in meaning as shown in (30a-b), which was discussed in Öztürk & Taylan (2017). If one wants to highlight the natural property or the state of the undergoer (i.e. the metal has the intrinsic property of bending, e.g. copper, or it is in a bent state), then the verb takes -u(r) as in (30a). The verb in (30b), on the other hand, being marked with the valency marker i- necessarily implies the presence of an external factor, i.e. a human agent, that brings about the change. This means that a verb with an object that does not have the intrinsic property of bending (e.g. steel) is typically used with AICs, but not with -u(r). Thus, AIC strictly indicates that the external factor is a human agent, whereas -u(r) is compatible with non-human external factors and it is typically used when the event is an intrinsic property of undergoer. As we will discuss in section 6, the language pays particular attention to the types of initiator/causation as an Initiation language in the sense of Ritter & Rosen (2000). That is why it makes use of several different patterns highlighting the use of different types of initiators:

    1. (30)
    1. a.
    1. Ham
    2. this
    1. metali
    2. metal
    1. ndrukh-u-n.
    2. bend-TS-PRES.3PS
    1. ‘The metal is bendable/bending/can bend.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ham
    2. this
    1. metali
    2. metal.NOM
    1. i-ndrikh-e-n.
    2. VAL-bend-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘This metal is being bent/bending.’

It is possible to detect a syntactically active initiator position even in the case of internally caused change of state verbs, such as bloom, rot, decay, illustrated in (31) which are also compatible with -u(r).

    1. (31)
    1. a.
    1. Ombri
    2. plum.tree
    1. purk-u-n.
    2. bloom-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The plum tree blooms/is blooming.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. K’romi
    2. onion
    1. liç’-u-n.
    2. sprout-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The onion sprouts.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Topuri
    2. honey
    1. liç’-u-n.
    2. crystalize-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The honey crystalizes.’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. Lazut’i
    2. corn
    1. xind-u-n.
    2. fade-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The corn plant is fading.’

We again argue that these internally caused predicates also involve an InitP layer in their syntax, which introduces a coindexed covert initiator. It is possible to use these constructions with a purpose clause as in (32):

    1. (32)
    1. Ombri
    2. plum.tree
    1. bere-pe
    2. child-PL
    1. oxelu
    2. make.happy
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. purk-u-n.
    2. bloom-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The plum tree is blooming to make the children happy.’

Furthermore, as seen in (33), it is possible to paraphrase the internally caused predicate with a reflexive construction. The pattern in (33) with the presence of the ergative case and the third person agreement marker –s looks very similar to reflexives which host the clitic i- in their object position as in the example (13a) above. The important point here is that (33) still retains the intransitive reading but implies that the undergoer has more internal control over the caused change in comparison to the construction with nominative subjects in (32). Similar to the case above it is possible to combine this construction with a purpose clause:

    1. (33)
    1. Ombri-k
    2. plum.tree-ERG
    1. bere-pe
    2. child-PL
    1. oxelu
    2. make.happy
    1. şeni
    2. for
    1. i-purk-am-s.
    2. VAL-bloom-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The plum tree is blooming to make the children happy.’

To summarize, both externally and internally caused change of state verbs provide evidence for a syntactically active initiator position. Therefore, they do not pattern with intransitive constructions such as passives and anticausatives available in languages like English. The representations in (34) and (35) depicts the structures we propose for externally and internally caused change of state verbs, respectively:

    1. (34)
    1. Externally caused change of state verb15
    1. (35)
    1. Internally caused change of state verb

Given that we have established that there are no true unaccusative structures in PL, now we will move onto the discussion of unergatives, which we will also argue to have a transitive structure.

5 Transitive Unergatives

As seen in the discussion above, both AICs and change of state verbs with -u(r) which seemingly surface with an unaccusative pattern behave transitively in terms of their syntactic architecture in PL. There is no syntactic argument suppression which would yield a true unaccusative pattern consisting of only the ProcP and ResP layers in PL. Both the initiator and the undergoer(/resultee) positions are syntactically active, yielding a transitive syntax, but they do not have to be overtly realized. The initiator position is associated with ergative case, while the undergoer(/resultee) is associated with nominative case. By manipulating case, agreement and TS patterns it is possible to foreground or background either the initiator or the undergoer(/resultee) of the event that the verb denotes in PL. Given the strict transitive pattern, the initiator and the undergoer cannot be dissociated from one another in syntax. Keeping this pattern in mind let us now turn back to the question we have raised at the end of section 3, that is, whether unergatives with the pronominal clitic i- have a transitive syntax or not, which we will answer affirmatively below.

5.1 Unergatives with the clitic i-

Recall that unergatives which are agentive manner verbs in PL surface with the clitic i- and an overt ergative marked DP as in (36):

    1. (36)
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-çaliş-am-s.
    2. VAL-work-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is working.’

Ramchand (2008) takes such unergatives to have InitP and ProcP layers where the undergoer and the initiator positions are fulfilled by the same DP argument as in (37):

    1. (37)

We take the presence of the clitic i- in such unergatives in PL as the overt manifestation of the pattern which Ramchand argues for in (37). Unergatives with i- are highly similar to the examples with internally caused change of state verbs in (33) above where both the initiator and the undergoer positions are assumed to be strictly coreferential and cannot be realized by different individuals. While unergatives with i- denote internally instigated activities consisting of InitP and ProcP, the examples in (33) refer to internally caused change of state verbs with InitP, ProcP and ResP layers.

As shown in (38), we take the clitic i- to occupy the undergoer position in unergatives:

    1. (38)

Given the pattern in (37) where the undergoer and the initiator are co-referential, it is not possible to directly transitivize such unergatives in languages like English as shown in (39). Just as in English, it is not possible to lexically causativize these verbs only by manipulating the valency marker as in (40b), but causativization has to be done by the introduction of the causative voice morpheme -ap as in (40c), which is also used to causativize regular transitives in PL as shown in (41b):

(39) *John danced Mary.
    1. (40)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-bgar-u.
    2. VAL-cry-3PST
    1. ‘Ali cried.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. *Ahmedi-k
    2.   Ahmed-ERG
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. o-bgar-u.
    2. VAL-cry-3PS
    1.   ‘Ahmet made Ali cry.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1.   Ahmedi-k
    2.   Ahmed-ERG
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. o-bgar-ap-u.
    2. VAL-cry-CAUS-3PST
    1.   ‘Ahmet made Ali cry.’
    1. (41)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. t’abaxi
    2. plate
    1. çx-u.
    2. wash-3PST
    1. ‘Ali washed the plate.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Xordza-k
    2. woman-ERG
    1. Ali-s
    2. Ali-DAT
    1. t’abaxi
    2. plate
    1. o-çx-ap-u.
    2. VAL-wash-CAUS-3PST
    1. ‘The woman made Ali wash the plate.’

In terms of causativization, we again see a full parallelism between unergatives with i- and transitives. Given such evidence we take such unergatives as having a transitive syntax.

One property of unergative verbs cross-linguistically observed is that in some languages they can easily take cognate object arguments (cf. Kuno & Takami 2004; Nakajima 2006; Pereltsvaig 1999, 2002; among others). However, if i- stands for an undergoer filling up the object position then the prediction would be that unergative verbs in PL would not take cognate objects. This prediction is borne out as shown in (42a) (cf. Öztürk & Taylan 2017). Note that as Turkish-Laz bilinguals, our informants cannot use cognate objects in PL, even if argument type cognate objects are commonly available in Turkish as in (42b).

    1. (42)
    1. a.
    1. *Ali-k
    2.   Ali-ERG
    1. ar
    2. a
    1. vorsi
    2. great
    1. nciri
    2. sleep
    1. i-ncir-u.16
    2. VAL-sleep-3PST
    1.   ‘Ali sleept a great sleep.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Turkish
    1. Ali uyku uyu-yor.
    2. Ali sleep sleep-IMPF
    1. ‘Ali is sleeping (a sleep).’

In parallel to Öztürk & Taylan (2017), we claim that as i- is saturating the object position of these verbs and is always obligatory with such verbs, cognate objects are simply impossible in PL.

If unergatives are syntactically transitive in PL, then their case patterns can also be explained. we observe a transitive syntax for eventive verbs in PL, including the agentive unergatives. In agentive unergatives, the InitP and the ProcP layers would be associated with the same argument. The overt DP stands for the subject and the undergoer position bears the clitic i- to indicate that the two positions are coreferential as in the case of internally caused change of state verbs given in (33). This transitive configuration leads to the use of ergative case for the subject position. Baker & Bobaljik (2017) highlights the dependent nature of the ergative in Laz. They focus on Laz agentive unergatives which require ergative subjects and argue that the clitic i- might fullfill the formal syntactic transitivity requirement for dependent ergative case (Baker & Bobaljik 2017: 38). Following up on the notion of dependent case discussed in Marantz (1991), Baker &Bobaljik (2017) define dependent ergative case as the following:

(43) (Baker & Bobaljik 2017: 4)
  a. If NP1 c-commands NP2 and both are contained in the same domain (say, clause), then value the case feature of NP1 as ergative.
  b. Otherwise NP is nominative/absolutive.

Based on (43), ergative would surface in the presence of another NP checking case in the structure, that is, when there is an object associated with a case feature is overtly realized we get ergative morphology. Thus, we also take the presence of overt ergative case on the subject as a consequence of the transitive nature of such unergatives in PL.

Given the discussion above, we assume that agentive unergatives in PL naturally involve an InitP and a ProcP layer and are syntactically transitive involving an overt initiator and an undergoer which are co-referential.17

5.2 Verbs of emission

Unergative verbs in PL also include verbs of emission with ergative subjects, which do not take the valency marker i-. Verbs of emission have been argued to have a causal implication, where their sole argument is taken as the causer of the event (Rappaport Hovav & Levin 2000; Potashnik 2012), as indicated by the paraphrase of (44a) as (44b):

(44) a. The flower smells.
  b. The flower causes the smell. → The flower is the causer.

As seen in (45), PL provides further evidence that the sole argument of such verbs are causers as the subject bears ergative case which is always associated with the semantic role initiator/causer in PL:

    1. (45)
    1. Purki-k
    2. flower-ERG
    1. msk’va
    2. nice
    1. gont’-u.
    2. smell-3PST
    1. ‘The flower smelled nice.’

As discussed in the previous section, ergative case is licensed when there is another argument in the structure in line with the dependent case analysis of ergative by Baker & Bobaljik (2017). In the case of agentive unergatives the presence of the clitic i- in the lower argument position was what enabled the use of ergative case. In verbs of emission in PL, however, there is no overt morphological evidence for the presence of an undergoer licensing the use of ergative as a dependent case. The question which arises at this point is whether there is any syntactic evidence for a lower object position. This is what we will try to answer below.

As discussed by Öztürk & Taylan (2017), verbs of emission as in (46a) have nominal counterparts as illustrated in (46b). It is possible to paraphrase (46a) as (46c) with the overt light verb ‘make/do’, having the nominal form of the verb of emission as the object. However, similar to the case we observed in agentive unergatives, the nominal form cannot be used as the cognate object of the verb of emission, as in (46d), which is again a pattern commonly observed in Turkish as shown in (47). Thus, PL behaves differently from Turkish. As Laz-Turkish bilinguals our informants simply do not accept cognate objects in PL neither with agentive unergatives nor with verbs of emission:

    1. (46)
    1. a.
    1. Ntsa-k
    2. sky-ERG
    1. gurgul-am-s.
    2. clap-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The sky is thundering.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Gurgula
    2. thunder
    1. ce-xt’-u.
    2. PV-fall-3PST
    1. ‘Thunder struck.’
    1.  
    1. c.
    1. Ntsa-k
    2. sky-ERG
    1. gurgula
    2. thunder
    1. ik’-um-s.
    2. make-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The sky is making thunder claps.’
    1.  
    1. d.
    1. *Ntsa-k
    2.   sky-ERG
    1. ar
    2. a
    1. vorsi
    2. good
    1. gurgula
    2. thunder
    1. gurgul-u.
    2. clap-3PST
    1.   ‘The sky thundered a great thunder.’
    1. (47)
    1. Çiçek
    2. flower
    1. güzel
    2. nice
    1. bir
    2. a
    1. koku
    2. smell
    1. kok-uyor.
    2. smell-IMPF
    1. ‘The flower smells a nice smell.’

Hale & Keyser (2002) proposes the conflation model to account for such unergative verbs. In this model, the nominal complement conflates into a light verb by copying its p-signature, i.e. a phonological feature set, to the light verb whose p-signature is defective. Conflation is not a syntactic movement operation. However, under this derivation it is still possible to find cognate objects in languages such as English. As shown in (46d) above, this is not the case in PL, therefore, the conflation model which requires p-signature copying, is not compatible with PL. We would like to tentatively propose that rather than conflation what PL exhibits for the derivation of such verbs is in parallel to syntactic incorporation (cf. Baker 1988), where the head of an NP moves and incorporates into the light verb, but its trace is still syntactically visible. One piece of rather weak evidence for such a derivation comes from the availability of stranded modifiers in the object position:

    1. (48)
    1. Ntsa-k
    2. sky-ERG
    1. ar
    2. a
    1. vorsi
    2. good
    1. gurgul-u.
    2. clap-3PST
    1. ‘The sky thundered a great (thunder).’

Note that such modifier stranding is not very common in PL unlike the case in languages like Hopi and Mohawk, which Baker (1988) discusses, and it does not work with all adjectives or with demonstratives. Furthermore, the adjectival vs. determiner status of ar ‘one’ is not clear-cut and requires further investigation in PL. Given that there is no morphological distinction between adjectives and adverbs, the use of ar here can be adverbial as well. Therefore, we take the data in (48) as a weak piece of evidence for a derivation based on head-incorporation.

Recall that in the case of agentive unergatives, we have concluded that the lack of cognate objects stems from the fact that at the syntactic level the object position is already full with the reflexive i-. If the incorporation analysis is on the right track for verbs of emission then the trace/copy of the incorporated object might be what is blocking the use of cognate objects.18 Furthermore, when there is a syntactically visible object position, we get ergative case being morphologically realized on the initiator/causer in PL as a dependent case. The presence of a full nominative object NP as in regular transitives or the clitic i- is enough to fulfill this requirement for the realization of ergative case. Again if the incorporation analysis is on the right track, then the trace of the incorporated object is what conditions the use of ergative case in verbs of emission.19 Note that we are aware of the fact that we have not really provided conclusive evidence for the presence of a lower argument in the case of verbs of emission in PL. As such, verbs of emission might actually constitute an exception for the transitivity requirement observed in PL. However, to bring this verb class in line with what we have observed in other eventive verb classes in PL, we tentatively take them to be transitives based on the discussion of cognate objects and incorporation, even though these constitute weak pieces of evidence.

6 Ritter & Rosen (2000): PL as an I-language

As seen in the above discussion, we have argued that unergatives in PL have a transitive syntax, which we take to extend to all types of eventive verbs in PL including unaccusatives. Hence, Neo-Burzio Dependency is very strictly observed in PL. All eventive verbs including unergatives and unaccusatives always form a transitive pattern retaining both the initiator and the undergoer positions available in syntax exhibiting a co-dependency. Hence, there are no truly single argument verbs in the language and also no voice phenomena yielding monovalent verbs, such as passives or anticausatives. In order to have an eventive dynamic structure transitivity requirement should be observed. However, even though there are no true single argument verbs in PL, the language still exhibits patterns analogous to unergative and unaccusative predicates found in languages like English. This is achieved through different case, agreement and TS patterns as extensively discussed above.

The question which raises at this point is why PL exhibits such a strong co-dependency requirement. Is there an underlying reason for this pattern to emerge given the general typological properties of PL are concerned? We believe the typology proposed by Ritter & Rosen (2000) might provide an answer to this. Ritter & Rosen (2000) propose that languages can be split into two: I(nitiation)-languages and D(elimitation)-languages. I-languages base event status to the initial bound, while D-languages focus on the terminal bound of the event. Given this split, I- and D-languages exhibit different clustering properties:

D-languages can:

  • group accomplishments with achievements

  • exhibit sensitivity to the semantic and syntactic properties of the object, such as specificity, definiteness, case marking, person, etc.

  • use accusative for delimiting objects

  • show ergative splits based on perfective aspect/past tense

  • have object agreement not specified for person features

I-languages can:

  • group accomplishments with activities

  • exhibit sensitivity to semantic and syntactic properties of the subject, such as agentivity and animacy

  • make grammatical distinction between topic and subject

  • show ergative splits on the basis of the properties of the subject

  • have subject and object agreement specified for person features

  • have quirky case subjects, animacy hierarchies

As extensively discussed by Öztürk & Taylan (2017), PL exhibits almost all the I-language properties listed above, and thus comes across as a good example of an I-language. First, in PL accomplishments and activities pattern together in terms of TSs, case and agreement suffixes as seen in (49):

    1. (49)
    1. a.
    1. Activity
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. i-çaliş-am-s.
    2. VAL-work-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is working.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Accomplishment
    1. Ahmedi-k
    2. Ahmet-ERG
    1. dişk’a
    2. wood
    1. mo-ğ-am-s.
    2. PV-bring-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ahmet is bringing the wood here.’

Second, PL ergative split is based on the properties of the subject. Only initiators can take ergative case, while undergoer subjects appear as nominative.

Third, subject and object agreement in PL is specified for only person features, which surface with the prefixes in the preverbal domain as illustrated in (50):

    1. (50)
    1. Ko’çi-k
    2. man-ERG
    1. si
    2. you.DAT
    1. bere
    2. child
    1. g-u-ncğon-u.
    2. 2OBJ-APPL-send-3PST
    1. ‘The man sent the child to you.’

Fourth, experiencer subjects taking dative case behave as a quirky subject as extensively discussed in Demirok (2013):

    1. (51)
    1. Bere-s
    2. child-DAT
    1. Ali
    2. Ali
    1. a-cer-u.
    2. APPL-believe-3PST
    1. ‘The child believed Ali.’

Fifth, PL does not exhibit any differentiated object marking which can be associated with telicity/delimitation. Delimitation can only be encoded through adverbial prefixes on the verb as in (52b):

    1. (52)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. past’a
    2. cake
    1. şk’om-u.
    2. eat-3PST
    1. ‘Ali ate (some) cake.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. past’a
    2. cake
    1. o-şk’om-u.
    2. PV-eat-3PST
    1. ‘Ali ate the (whole) cake.’

Thus, as discussed by Öztürk & Taylan (2017), PL exhibits almost all the properties associated with I-languages by Ritter & Rosen (2000). As only the initial bound is used to define an eventuality as eventive, all eventive predicates should involve a layer introducing the initiator in syntax. The Neo-Burzio Dependency furthermore necessiates the projection of an object position. Thus, neither the initiator layer nor the object position can be canceled out if the predicate is to be interpreted as eventive. It is possible to cancel the initiator if the construction is to be interpreted as non-eventive as in the case of deverbal adjectival participles. As shown by Öztürk & Taylan (2017), the deverbal form can be used with a regular copula as in (53a) and also as the complement of the verb remain, as in (53b), indicating that it is truly adjectival in nature:

    1. (53)
    1. a.
    1. Cami
    2. glass
    1. t’ax-eri
    2. break-PRTC
    1. on.
    2. 3COP
    1. ‘The glass is broken.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Cami
    2. glass
    1. t’ax-eri
    2. break-PRTC
    1. do-sk’ud-u.
    2. PV-remain-3PST
    1. ‘The glass remained broken.’

Furthermore, it is not surprising that we find the active alignment pattern that we observe in PL, where ergativity is generalized across all aspect and tense series unlike the case in Georgian. As a dependent case which appears on initiators, ergative case surfaces in all eventive predicates which would require an object position thanks to the Neo-Burzio Dependency.

Given the strict transitivity requirement for eventive predicates, one wonders the status of stative verbs in PL. Interestingly, most stative verbs share the same root with eventive transitive verbs in PL (cf. Taylan & Öztürk (2014). As seen in (54), the verb have/own is based on the verb bring, while the verbs believe and know are derived from the same root as convince and send as in (55) and (56), respectively:

    1. (54)
    1. a.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. dişk’a
    2. wood
    1. me-v-i-ğ-am-Ø.
    2. PV-1SBJ-bring-TS-1PRS
    1. ‘I am bringing wood.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. para
    2. money
    1. m-i-ğ-u-n.
    2. 1OBJ-APPL-bring-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘I have money.’ (Lit: Money is brought to me)
    1. (55)
    1. a.
    1. Ali-k
    2. Ali-ERG
    1. Ayşe
    2. Ayşe
    1. o-cer-am-s.
    2. VAL-convince-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ali is convincing Ayşe.’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Ayşe-s
    2. Ayşe-DAT
    1. muti
    2. nothing
    1. var
    2. NEG
    1. a-cer-e-n.
    2. APPL-believe-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘Ayşe believes in nothing’ (Lit: Nothing convinces Ayşe)
    1. (56)
    1. a.
    1. Ma
    2. I
    1. ham
    2. this
    1. m-i-şk’-u-n.
    2. 1OBJ-APPL-send-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘I know this. (Lit: This is sent to me)’
    1.  
    1. b.
    1. Nana-k
    2. mother-ERG
    1. bere
    2. child
    1. soti
    2. anywhere
    1. var
    2. NEG-VAL
    1. o-şk’-um-s.
    2. -send-TS-3PRS
    1. ‘The mother does not send the child anywhere.’

The data in (54–56) might indicate that all verbs, even including the statives are always underlyingly dynamic/eventive and hence transitive in PL, that is, statives are obligatorily derived from dynamic verbs. This would imply that what we call a verb in PL must be dynamic in nature having a transitive syntax requiring both the initiator and the undergoer to be syntactically available.20 However, in order to make such a strong claim we have to investigate the nature of different types of stative predicates in PL, which does not fall within the scope of this study.21 For the purposes of this study, we will propose that the transitivity requirement holds only for eventive verbs in PL and leave the issue of stative verbs for future research.

7 Conclusion

The aim of this study was to argue that all unergatives in PL have a transitive structure. We have shown that not only unergatives but also unaccusatives, in fact, have a transitive architecture, involving both an initiator and an undergoer. Hence we have argued for the lack of a syntactic split between single argument verbs as unergatives and unaccusatives in PL. Even though there is no syntactic difference between unergatives and unaccusatives, at the level of morphology each verb type is associated with different TSs, case and agreement patterns which are used to foreground either the initiator or the undergoer/resultee of the event given the transitive syntax.22

The transitivity requirement has two components. Firstly, Neo-Burzio Dependency is very strictly observed in PL, so that only when there is a lower argument, the external argument can be interpreted as an initiator/agent. Secondly, as PL comes across as a very conservative I-language under Ritter & Rosen (2000)’s typology, the initiator layer has to be present with all eventive verb types. Thus, due to the obligatory presence of an initiator layer in eventive predicates in an I-language like PL, it is not possible to find truly non-active voice patterns, such as anticausatives. We speculate that such voice patterns will only be available in D-languages, which can define an eventuality as eventive based on the terminal bound. Whether there are languages with typologically mixed patterns should be further investigated which we leave for future research.

Notes

  1. Experiencers, benefactives and goals/recipients require dative case and applicative morphology on the verbal complex in PL (cf. Öztürk 2019b). Hence they never surface with ergative or nominative as shown in (i). We will go back to the discussion of such verbs in the context of statives in Section 6: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. a.
      1. Experiencer
      1. Ali-s
      2. Ali-DAT
      1. baba-muşi
      2. father-his
      1. g-a-nç’el-e-n.
      2. PV-APL-miss-TS-3PRS
      1. ‘Ali misses his father.’
      1.  
      1. b.
      1. Recipient
      1. Koç-epe-k
      2. man-PL-ERG
      1. bere-s
      2. child-DAT
      1. cenç’areri
      2. money
      1. u-ncğon-es.
      2. APL-send-3PL-PST
      1. ‘The men sent the money to the child.’
      1.  
      1. c.
      1. Benefactive
      1. Ma
      2. I
      1. bere-s
      2. child-DAT
      1. pasta
      2. cake
      1. v-u-ç’v-i.
      2. 1-APL-bake-1PST
      1. ‘I baked the child a cake.’
    [^]
  2. Nominative case is zero in form in PL. Only when relevant we mark it overtly with Ø, elsewhere we will leave it unspecified in the examples and in the glosses. [^]
  3. Note that we are only providing the singular set of agreement markers as plural morphology has an independent exponence for first and second persons and exhibits fusion with person for third person, thus, it exhibits a highly complex distribution (cf. Demirok 2013). The singular agreement paradigm suffices to make our point regarding the agreement split between unergatives and unaccusatives. [^]
  4. The suffix -n is based on the third person singular form of the copula on. This split between the agreement suffixes is similar to the auxiliary (be vs. have) selection differences observed in unaccusatives and unergatives in languages like Dutch and Italian. [^]
  5. Georgian, a close relative of Laz, also marks different verb classes via TSs, such as -eb, -ob, -av. In contrast to the pattern we observe in PL, Lomashvili (2010) argues that there is no principled reason as to why a verb selects a particular TS and that these are simply used for morphological well-formedness in Georgian (Lomashvili 2010: 75). [^]
  6. Note that TSs can appear as part of the masdar forms of verbs in Georgian (cf. Nash 2018). [^]
  7. Ramchand (2008) decomposes verb meaning into several projections which match different subevents. In her architecture, InitP introduces the causation event and licenses the external argument similar to vP. The DP in the Specifier of InitP is the subject of cause, that is the initiator. ProcP specifies the nature of the change or process and licenses the entity undergoing change or process. This projection is available in all dynamic events. The spec of ProcP is the subject of the process known as the undergoer. Finally, ResP gives the ‘telos’ or ‘result state’ of the event and licenses the entity that comes to hold the result state. The DP in its Spec is the subject of result, namely the resultee (Ramchand 2008: 47–48). Note that in this framework, a single DP can be associated with more than one subevent projections, for example, in internally caused events a single DP can be simultaneously the subject of InitP, ProcP and ResP. This is reminiscent of Hornstein (1999) where it is possible for a single DP to be associated with more than one theta positions. Note that in the Ramchandian model, objects which are not subjects of subevents but are part of the description of the verb, such as objects of stative verbs, incorporated or cognate objects are called rhemes and are base-generated in the complement projections of the relevant subjevent projection. [^]
  8. The EventP assumed in the Ramchandian phrase structure is different from the ones proposed by the Harley (1995) and Borer (2005). Both Harley (1995) and Borer (2005) associate this projection with the external argument and the originator of the event, however, such arguments are associated with InitP in the current model, and EventP is associated with imperfective aspect, specifically with the progressive in the context of English as discussed in Ramchand & Svenonius (2013) and Ramchand (2017). [^]
  9. Georgian – a close relative of PL, for example, makes use of the suffix -d to derive inchoative unaccusatives. PL has no such derivational morphology to distinguish between passives, inchoatives, anticausatives and middles. [^]
  10. As it is well-observed in the literature beside by-phrases and by itself phrases passives and anticausatives can be differentiated from one another via other PP adjuncts which can bring out the causal structure such as from-phrases (cf. Levin & Rappaport-Hovav 1995; Kallulli 2007; Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer 2015). PL does not allow for from-phrases either. The only adjunct type it allows for are the DPs marked with instrumental case as seen in (ia). Causal events are incompatible with instrumental case as in (ib) and they can only take locative case denoting co-temporality (ic), but not necessarily causation given that while (iia) would be a semantically compatible paraphrase of (ia), native speakers do not accept (iib) as the paraphrase of (ic): [^]
      1. (i)
      1. a.
      1. Cam-epe
      2. window-PL
      1. bomba-te
      2. bomb-with
      1. i-t’ax-u.
      2. VAL-break-3PST
      1. ‘Windows were broken with the bomb.’
      1.  
      1. b.
      1. *Cam-epe
      2.   window-PL
      1. zelzele-te
      2. earthquake-with
      1. i-t’ax-u.
      2. VAL-break-3PST
      1.   ‘Windows were broken from the earthquake.’
      1.  
      1. c.
      1. Cam-epe
      2. window-PL
      1. zelzele-s
      2. bomb-LOC
      1. i-t’ax-u.
      2. VAL-break-3PST
      1. ‘Windows were broken during the earthquake.’
      1. (ii)
      1. a.
      1. Bomba-k
      2. bomb-ERG
      1. cam-epe
      2. windw-PL
      1. t’ax-u.
      2. break-3PST
      1. ‘The bomb broke the windows.’
      1.  
      1. b.
      1. Zelzele-k
      2. earthquake-ERG
      1. cam-epe
      2. window-PL
      1. t’ax-u.
      2. break-3PST
      1. ‘The earthquake broke the windows.’
    [^]
  11. Note that as a reflexive çendi cannot occur in the subject position in the absence of a c-commanding antecedent. Examples such as (i) below where çendi is to be interpreted as coreferential with the object DP are simply ungrammatical: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. Çendi-kj
      2. self-ERG
      1. Alij dzir-u.
      2. Ali see-3PST
      1. ‘Selfj saw Alij.’
    [^]
  12. This derivation of the pronominal clitic i- is in parallel to Wood (2015)’s account of the clitic -st in anticausatives in Icelandic, which also starts from Spec, VoiceP and cliticizes onto the verb. However, the difference lies in the referent of the clitics in both languages. While -st in Icelandic is semantically vacous enabling the anticausative interpretation, i- in PL refers to a human agent yielding the active impersonal interpretation. [^]
  13. The fact that the pronominal clitic i- is found both in reflexives and in AIC constructions can be considered to be in parallel to the reflexive marked anticausatives observed in many languages cross-linguistically. This has given rise to the reflexive account of anticausatives by Koontz-Garboden (2009), Koontz-Garboden & Beavers (2013). Under the reflexive account of anticausatives the external and the internal argument are set as identical through the reflexive morphology. Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou, & Schäfer (2015) criticize the reflexive account of anticausatives and argue that the reflexive stands for an expletive in Spec, Voice. However, in PL in AIC the pronominal clitic in the InitP layer is not identical to the undergoer but it stands for a human agent. This is clearly not an anticausative construction. Therefore, neither the reflexive account of anticausatives nor the expletive Voice account is compatible with the AIC in PL. [^]
  14. Note that as indicated by an anonymous reviewer it is sometimes possible to find reflexives in passives in languages like German and Icelandic. Thus, this might not be a compelling argument for the non-passive account of -u(r) constructions. In the typological literature, on the other hand, it has been observed that active-passive voice opposition typically is absent in active alignment languages (cf. Klimov 1974). Therefore, if the observations in the typological literature hold, it would be unexpected to find passives in PL which also exhibits active alignment. [^]
  15. Note that as indicated by one of the anonymous reviewers, especially in the accounts such as Alexiadou et al (2015) and Alexiadou (2014) there are two versions of transitivity based on VoiceP and vP. While VoiceP is typically associated with external arguments, such as agents, vP is taken to be projection in relation to causers. In these studies the distinction between the subject types of internally and externally caused predicates are also established based on the presence or absence of VoiceP. In the current event structure based model of Ramchand used here, we are not making such a distinction. InitP would encompass features of both VoiceP and vP enabling the introduction of both agents and causers. As there is a strict co-dependency between the presence of an undergoer and the initiator in PL, we can tentatively suggest that PL patterns as a VoiceP-vP bundling language which Harley (2017) discusses in detail. However, how VoiceP-vP bundling can be captured under the Ramchandian modal still needs to be worked out, which is not within the scope of this paper. [^]
  16. Note that it is not possible to drop i- and keep the cognate object. Such constructions are simply ungrammatical in PL: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. *Ali-k
      2.   Ali-ERG
      1. ar
      2. a
      1. vorsi
      2. great
      1. nciri
      2. sleep
      1. ncir-u.
      2. VAL-sleep-3PST
      1.   ‘Ali slept a great sleep.’
    [^]
  17. Note that the transitivity pattern we have for agentive unergative verbs is different from the ones observed in languages like Basque, which Laka (1993) and Hale & Keyser (2002) discuss. In Basque the bare noun and the light verb appear as independent syntactic units as shown in (i) and the bare noun satisfies the transitivity requirement enabling the use of ergative case on the subject. However, in PL agentive unergatives it is the pronominal i- which qualifies for the object position: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. Basque (Laka 1993: 153)
      1. Nik
      2. I.ERG
      1. negar
      2. cry
      1. egin
      2. done
      1. dut.
      2. have.1SG.ERG
      1. ‘I have cried.’
    [^]
  18. Note that it would not be expected for verbs of emission to have the reflexive i-, as the causer and the undergoer are not co-indexed as in reflexives and agentive unergatives. For example in a sentence like ‘The flower smells’, while the flower is the causer, the undergoer is the smell which the flower causes. [^]
  19. As indicated by one of the reviewers, Baker & Bobaljik (2017) show that in some languages like Chukchi, incorporation leads to detransitivization of the predicate which requires absolutive case on the subject blocking the dependent ergative as seen in (ib). This raises the following question: How is the trace of the incorporated object still takes part in dependent ergative assignment in PL?: [^]
      1. (i)
      1. Chukchi (Baker & Bobaljik 2017: 20)
      1.  
      1. a.
      1. ətləg-e
      2. father-ERG
      1. mətqəmət
      2. butter.ABS
      1. (kawkaw-ək)
      2. bread-LOC
      1. kili-nin
      2. spread.on-3SG>3SG
      1. ‘The father spread the butter (on the bread).’
      1.  
      1. b.
      1. tləg-ən
      2. father-ABS
      1. (kawkaw-ək)
      2. bread-LOC
      1. mətqə-rkele-nen
      2. butter-spread.on-3SG>3SG
      1. ‘The father spread butter (on the bread).’ (Baker and Bobaljik 2017: 20)
    [^] As extensively discussed in Baker, Aranovich & Golluscio (2005) and also in Baker (2014) incorporation does not always lead to detransitivization in all languages. The trace of incorporation can still be visible in terms of phi and case features in some languages, which they take to be subject to parameterization. For example, as seen in (ii), in Southern Tiwa the verb can still agree with the incorporated object and as seen in (iii) the object which undergoes pseudo-incorporation in Hungarian, which Baker (2014) analyzes as a specific kind of head-incorporation is still visible for case. Given these, we take PL to be a language of the type like Southern Tiwa or Hungarian, but not like Chukchi, where the trace of incorporation is still visible for dependent case retaining the transitivity of the predicate: [^]
      1. (ii)
      1. Southern Tiwa (Baker, Aranovich & Golluscio 2005: 141)
      1.  
      1. a.
      1. Ti-seuan-mu-ban.
      2. 1SS/AO-man-see-PST
      1. ‘I saw the/a man.’
      1.  
      1. b.
      1. Seuan-ide
      2. man-SG
      1. ti-mu-ban.
      2. 1SS/AO-see-PST
      1. ‘I saw the/a man.’
      1. (iii)
      1. Hungarian (Kiss 2002: 68)
      1. János
      2. John
      1. újságo-t
      2. newspaper-ACC
      1. olvas.
      2. reads
      1. ‘John is engaged in newspaper-reading.’
    [^]
  20. In one sense, PL compares to Chol, where what counts as a verb always requires a complement, hence an undergoer, so that only transitives and unaccusatives are categorized as verbs, but not unergatives, which surface as nominal constructions (Coon & Preminger 2013). Verbs in PL, however, not only require an undergoer but also an initiator, assuming a common transitive syntax for all eventive verb types. [^]
  21. Even if we have not exhaused all stative types in PL, one observation we have is that the statives in PL seem to behave mostly as Davidsonian states, rather than Kimian states (cf. Maienborn 2008). Since PL presents eventualities always transitively involving the initiator, one prediction would be that there cannot be verbs denoting Kimian states in this language. However, this requires a thorough investigation of statives in PL. [^]
  22. PL makes an interesting contribution to the directionality of causative alternation. Given that all eventive verbs are always both semantically and syntactically transitive in the language, it is not possible to argue for detransitivization to derive the anticausatives, which the language simply lacks. However, through the use of different TSs and case and agreement patterns the initiator layer can be backgrounded to foreground the undergoer layer allowing for semantic readings similar to anticausatives, still retaining a transitive syntax. [^]

Abbreviations

1 = first person, 2 = second person, 3 = third person, ABL = ablative, ALL = allative, APPL = applicative, CAUS = causative, COP = copula, DAT = dative, ERG = ergative, GEN = genitive, IMPF = imperfect, NACT = non-active, NEG = negation, NMZL = nominalizer, NOM = nominative, OBJ = object, PASS = passive, PL = plural, POSS = possessive, PV = preverb, PRS = present, PTCP = participle, PST = past, REFL = reflexive, SBJ = subject, TS = thematic suffix, VAL = valency.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank our informant İsmail Avcı Bucak’lisi for providing us with the Pazar Laz data.

We are more than grateful to the editors of this special volume, Léa Nash and Ane Berro, the anonymous reviewers, as well as the organizers and the participants at the Workshop of Unergative Predicates: Architecture and Variation held on January 18–19, 2018 in Bilbao for their constructive comments. Cordial thanks to Eser Erguvanlı Taylan and Ömer Faruk Demirok for the discussions of the various versions of this paper.

Competing Interests

The author has no competing interests to declare.

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