(Almost) everything is oblique in West Circassian
This paper provides a novel analysis of grammatical function marking in West Circassian (West Caucasian, Russia), a polysynthetic language whose syntactic features do not quite fit the standard types of polysynthesis described in the literature. We argue that there is a straightforward connection between GF status, verbal indexing, and case marking. Namely, subjects are Absolutive-marked and never indexed, while all other core arguments are indexed and marked by Oblique case. We show that the description of argumenthood in West Circassian only requires the features subj, objθ and oblθ; obj is not needed. subj is most often the S/P argument, but 1st and 2nd person pronouns, being indexed on the verb, map to objθ in all semantic roles. Therefore, GF assignment in West Circassian is dependent on person, and it is possible to have subjectless sentences. We provide a sketch formalization of this analysis and discuss its wider implications.