Ergative meaning

ûrgə-tĭv
Of or relating to a language, such as Georgian, in which the subject of an intransitive verb and the object of a transitive verb are expressed by one grammatical case, and the subject of a transitive verb is expressed by another.
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Of or relating to the grammatical case of the subject of a transitive verb in such a language.
adjective
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The ergative case.
noun
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An ergative inflection.
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A nominal having an ergative form.
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Designating, of, or in the case that is taken by the subject of a transitive verb in some languages, as Basque or Georgian, in which the direct object of a transitive verb and the subject of the related intransitive share the same case.
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Designating or of a verb or language whose transitive and intransitive uses are related in this way.
adjective
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(grammar) Used of various situations where the subject of constructions have different grammatical cases or thematic relations to those of intransitive constructions.

The case systems of ergative languages are counterintuitive to speakers of Indo-European languages.

adjective
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(linguistics) The ergative case.
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(linguistics) An ergative verb or other expression.
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Origin of ergative

  • From Greek ergatēs worker from ergon work werg- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From the Ancient Greek ἐργάτης (ergatēs, “worker”), from ἔργον (ergon, “work”).

    From Wiktionary