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Lexical Mapping in Yami Verbs

One-Soon Her and Dun-Hong Deng


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This paper demonstrates that the ergative hypothesis works out for Yami, an indigenous language of Taiwan's Orchid Island, where actor voice verbs are either intransitive or antipassive while non-actor voice verbs may be transitive. Crucially, we contend that the so-called genitive voice, marked by no or ni, is in fact accusative. The account is rendered in the simplified LMT with a unified mapping principle proposed by Her (2012). The Intrinsic Classification pt/th → [-r] applies to accusative languages like English and Chinese but not to ergative languages like Yami. This minimal parameterization, plus the morphosyntactic classification of θ[voice] → θ[-r -o], for voice-marking languages like Yami, is sufficient to account for the basic patterns of lexical mapping in Yami verbs.

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