Feature GB095: Are variations in marking strategies of core participants based on TAM distinctions?



Marking strategies of core participants include both marking by indexing and by flagging (i.e. case or adposition marking). Variations in marking strategies include both variations in the alignment patterns and variations in position (e.g. suffixing vs. prefixing) in case of indexes. This question includes some of the cases referred to as (alignment) split in the literature. Merely different allomorphs of person/number indexes in the same position do not count. Polarity (i.e. positive vs. negative distinction) does not count as a TAM category. Any variation of indexing in the imperative does not count either.


  1. Consider the flagging of the core arguments in the language (coded in GB408, GB409, and GB410). Is there any variation in the flagging of either S, A, or P which is determined by TAM categories (e.g. certain cases are used only in the perfective but not in the imperfective)? Code 1 if this is the case. Specifically look for such terms as split ergative/ergativity and differential subject marking.
  2. Consider the indexing patterns of the language (coded in GB089GB094). Is there any variation in the indexing of either S, A, or P which is determined by TAM categories? Code 1 for any difference in the form of the respective markers if this result in different alignment patterns. Also code 1 for variation in the position of indexes (prefix/proclitic vs. suffix/clitic), even if the overall alignment pattern remains the same.
  3. Code 0 if there is no variation in indexing or flagging according to TAM distinctions.
  4. Code 0 if TAM marking results in merely different allomorphs of person/number indexes in the same position, so that both the overall alignment pattern and the position of markers remain the same. For the purposes of this question, the alternation between zero and overt indexes in some TAM contexts does not count (code as 0).


Itzá (ISO 639-3: itz, Glottolog: itza1241)

A transitive verb indexes the A argument by means of the so-called ‘Set A’ prefixes, e.g. inw- ‘1SG.A’ in (a) and (b). P arguments are indexed by means of the ‘Set B’ suffixes, e.g. -ech ‘2SG.P’ in the same example (Hofling 2000: 357).

Aspect: incompletive

‘I see you.’

Aspect: completive

‘I saw you.’

With intransitive verbs both Set A and Set B affixes can occur. In this case the distribution is conditioned by the aspect of the clause (called ‘status’ in Mayan linguistics). The set A person markers are used in the non-completive aspect, e.g. inw- ‘1SG.A’ in (c), whereas the B markers are used in the completive aspect, e.g. -ech ‘2SG.P’ in (d). Itzá is coded 1.

Aspect: incompletive

‘I descend.’

Aspect: completive

‘You descended.’

Georgian (ISO 639-3: kat, Glottolog: nucl1302)

In Series I (Present) the A argument is in the nominative case, e.g. deda ‘mother.NOM’ in (a), whereas the P argument is marked with the dative case, e.g. tavis švil-s ‘self.GEN child-DAT’ in (a). In Series II (Aorist) the A argument is in the narrative case (or ergative), e.g. deda-m ‘mother-NARR’ in (b). The P argument is in the nominative case, e.g tavis-i švil-i ‘self.GEN-NOM child-NOM’ in (b), see Harris (1981: 27). Georgian is coded 1.

Series I (Present)

a. deda       bans             tavis    švil-s.
mother.NOM she.bathes.him.I self.GEN child-DAT
‘The mother is bathing her child.’

Series II (Aorist)

b. deda-m       dabana             tavis-i       švil-i.
mother-NARR  she.bathed.him.II  self.GEN-NOM  child-NOM
‘The mother bathed her child.’

Further reading

Dixon, R. M. W. 1994. Ergativity. (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 69.) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Section 4.3 Split conditioned by tense/aspect/mood)


Hofling, Charles A. 2000. Itzaj Maya Grammar. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Harris, Alice C. 1981. Georgian syntax: A study in Relational Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Features coding indexing

Features coding the alignment of flagging

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0 absent 1798
1 present 242
? Not known 322



Name Glottocode Family Macroarea Contributor Value Source Comment