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Working paper

Lak biabsolutives are raising structures

Ganenkov D.
This article introduces new empirical data on the syntax of the biabsolutive construction in Lak that sheds new light on the analysis of this construction presented in Gagliardi et al. (2014). Some case-agreeing elements, such as compound anaphors, are shown to be able to bear ergative case despite the fact that no ergative DP is overtly present in the biabsolutive construction; this evidence necessitates a refinement of the structural analysis presented by Gagliardi et al., which precludes the possibility of ergative marking within the biabsolutive construction. I propose to capture the difference between ergative and biabsolutive constructions by exploiting a potential ambiguity in the content of the functional head Aux above AspP. On my account, the biabsolutive construction is understood as an instance of subject-to-subject raising with a reduced non-restructuring complement: the raising predicate ‘be involved in’ sits in Aux, assigning absolutive case to the closest DP in its c-command domain. All functional heads above AuxP thus bear gender agreement with the absolutive subject.