Project MUSE – The discourse basis of ergativity revisited

Since Du Bois’s (1987b) seminal paper, ergative alignment in morphosyntax has been claimed to correlate with a characteristic constellation of argument realization in discourse: both intransitive subjects (S) and transitive objects (P) serve to introduce new referents via full noun phrases (NPs), while transitive subjects (A) are dispreferred for this function and are thus mostly…

Contrasting Human Language With Animal Communication | InfoRefuge

Human language differs from animal communication in many ways.  While humans use language to produce an infinite number of unique sentences as a form of communication, animals lack this ability.  Animals communicate by signal codes, which means they have a limited number of statements, generally as simple responses to certain situations.  As one researcher says,…