Grammatical Relations in Pali and the Emergence of Ergativity in Indo-Aryan
John M. Peterson
University of Munich
This book is a detailed study of the grammatical relations of Pali, a Middle Indo-Aryan language which is also the canonical language of the therava-da-Buddhists of Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. On the basis of this data, the author takes a new look at the concept of 'subject' in Pali, as well as the emergence of ergativity in Indo-Aryan. The book includes a summary of much of the previous literature on the syntax of Old and Middle Indo-Aryan, as well as that of a number of works dealing with the origin of ergativity in Indo-Aryan and the concept of 'subject' in general.
Following this is a detailed look at the treatment of various grammatical operations in the major verbal constructions of Pali - i.e., the finite categories, the periphrastic perfect and the gerundival construction. These include coordination and subordination, the control of reflexivization and pronominalization, as well as a description of the coding properties and the dispensability of the various arguments in each construction.
Unlike most previous studies, the author comes to the conclusion that the present-day ergative constructions of most Indo-Aryan languages do not result from an earlier passive construction. Instead, he proposes a model for the periphrastic perfect which in many ways resembles that of the more familiar development of the perfect in west European languages.
ISBN 9783895860874. LINCOM Studies in Indo-European Linguistics 01. 240pp.1998.