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AbsErgDatPolite: politeness agreement with absolutive/ergative/dative argument

Polite[abs], Polite[erg], Polite[dat]

Finite verbs in many Indo-European languages agree in person and number with their subject; for the second person this also affects the politeness register. In Basque (a polypersonal language), certain verbs overtly mark agreement with up to three arguments: one in the absolutive case, one in ergative and one in dative. Thus in dakarkiogu “we bring it to him/her”, akar is the stem (ekarri = “bring”), d stands for “it” (absolutive argument is the direct object of transitive verbs), ki stands for the dative case, o stands for “he” and gu stands for “we” (ergative argument is the subject of transitive verbs).

One may want to use just Polite instead of Polite[abs]. However, there are two issues with that (at least in Basque). First, the absolutive argument is not always the subject. For transitive verbs, it is the object, so the parallelism with nominative-accusative languages would be weak anyway. Second, we cannot avoid Number[abs] (both Number and Number[abs] can occur at one word) and thus we keep Polite[abs] to demonstrate that it is the same layer of agreement for both the features.

Inf: informal

Examples: [eu] ezan, ezak Polite[erg]=Inf

Pol: polite, formal

Examples: [eu] ezazu Polite[erg]=Pol (politeness-neutral form is ezazue)