July 16, 2018
Yadgar Karimi

Yadgar Karimi

Academic rank: Associate professor
Address: Department of English Literature and Linguistics, Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj 66177-15175
Education: PhD. in Linguistics
Phone: 09183740853
Faculty: Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages


The Evolution of Ergativity in Iranian Languages
Type Article
ergative structure; resultative; past participle; Old Persian; Iranian languages
Researchers Yadgar Karimi


This paper presents an attempt to investigate the origins of ergativity in Iranian languages, drawing upon diachronic and synchronic analyses. In sodoing, I will trace the development of the ergative structure back to Old and Middle Persian where, it is argued, the roots of ergativity lie. I will specifically show that the ergativepatternas currently obtains in the grammatical structure of some Iranian languages has evolved from a periphrastic past participle construction the analogue of which is attested in Old Persian. It will further be argued that the predecessor past participle construction imparted a resultative construal in Old Persian and, subsequently, in the transition to Middle Persian, has assumed a simple past reading. The bottom-line of the analysis will be represented as a proposal regarding the nature of the ergative verb, to the effect that an ergative verb, as opposed to a regular (non-ergative) transitive verb, is semantically transitive, but syntactically intransitive.