Braj in the Ergativity Hierarchy

  • Pritha Chandra
  • Gurmeet Kaur


In generative literature, it is often assumed that closely related varieties differ minimally due to local effects of features (Barbiers 2009, Kayne 2000, 2013), with these small-scale differences located on the lower end of the Parameter Hierarchy (Biberauer and Roberts 2012, Roberts 2012). This paper re-visits one such hierarchy on ergativity (Sheehan 2017) by presenting novel dialectal data from Braj (Indic). Specifically, we illustrate that (a) ergative micro-variations in the language ensue not from feature level variation, but from underlying syntactic structures which in turn, have consequences for a v+erg head; these structural changes, however, affect a small domain, and (b) there exist cases of intra-dialectal case alignment variation, unpredicted by the hierarchy, which we relate to a phi-complete T head that is gradually superseding the v+erg head.