Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Gregory T. Stump


Most western Iranian languages, despite their broad differences, show a common quality when it comes to the verbal agreement of past transitive verbs. Dabir-moghaddam (2013) and Haig (2008) discuss it as a grammaticalized split-agreement to encode S, A, and P, which is sensitive to tense and transitivity, and uses split-ergative constructions for its past transitive verbs. Laki shows vestiges of the same kind of verb-agreement ergativity (Comrie 1978) by using a mixture of affixes and clitics for subject and object marking.

In this thesis, I investigate how the different classes of verbs show agreement using four distinct property classes. Considering the special case of the {3 sg} and using Hopper and Traugott's pattern for the cline of grammaticality (2003), I argue that although Laki has already lost the main part of its ergative constructions, the case of the {3 sg} marking is yet another sign that this language is in the process of absolute de-ergativization and its hybrid alignment system is moving toward morphosyntactic unity. As a formal representation of the Laki data, the final part of the thesis provides a morphosyntactic HPSG analysis of the agreement patterns in Laki, using the grammar of cliticized verb-forms (Miller and Sag 1997).

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