Ergativity in Old and Middle Iranian languages

Ergativity is a grammatical phenomenon that has been discussed controversially in linguistics in general and in the Iranian Studies in particular. The scientific debate is characterized by a lack of consideration of the Old and Middle Iranian data. In many cases, the selected examples, which their position in the respective language system is  still unclear, are associated with theory-driven assumptions about a hypothetical model of development, which is to be plausible, but not verifiable.

The present study provides a solution through the complete analyzing of the Avestan , Old Persian, Bactrian and Parthian documents as well as an extensive study of Middle Persian evidences (approximately 12,500 Middle Persian cases). In addition to the relevant ergativity aspects such case, congruence, word order,  and reflexivity both the development of syntactic structures (e.g. relative clauses) as well as the verbal and nominal system (e.g. the temporal aspect system or the function of enclitic personal pronouns) are discussed .

Results are illustrated with relevant evidences  (over 1,400 examples alone in the main part), whose validity is constantly checked and  based critically on detailed philological discussion. The material part also serves as a vademecum, which can be used in parallel with the reading of the main part, as well as a separate reference book that systematically illustrates the history of the object in ergative languages.

The volume presents the most exhaustive investigation on ergativity in within the Old and Middle Iranian languages.

The detaild Table of Content of this book and the English Summery are availabe.

The shortened ToC:

  1. Einleitung
  2. Das Verbalsystem
  • Aspekt und Tempus
  • Die Diathesen
  • Hilfsverben
  • Modale Ausdrücke

3. Das Nominalsystem

  • Numerus im Mitteliranischen
  • Kasus im Mitteliranischen

4. Zur Syntax

  • Informationsstruktur
  • Nominale Verwendung der Perfektpartizipien
  • Zum Gebrauch der Infinitive
  • Der Status des Relativsatzeinleiters
  • Dativsubjekte
5. Morphologische Ergativität
  • Kasus und Numerus
  • Kongruenzverhältnisse
6. Syntaktische Ergativität
  • Wortstellung
  • Konstituentenaussparung
  • Reflexivpronomina
7. Auswertung
8. Vorbemerkungen
9. Awestisch
10. Altpersisch
11. Baktrisch
12. Parthisch
13. Mittelpersisch
Thomas Jügel is a post-doc scholar at the Institut for Empirical Linguistics,  Goethe Universität Frankfurt am Main.