Diachrony of differential argument marking

Ilja A. Seržant   Alena Witzlack-Makarevich  


While there are languages that code a particular grammatical role (e.g. subject or direct object) in one and the same way across the board, many more languages code the same grammatical roles differentially. The variables which condition the differential argument marking (or DAM) pertain to various properties of the NP (such as animacy or definiteness) or to event semantics or various properties of the clause. While the main line of current research on DAM is mainly synchronic the volume tackles the diachronic perspective. The tenet is that the emergence and the development of differential marking systems provide a different kind of evidence for the understanding of the phenomenon. The present volume consists of 18 chapters and primarily brings together diachronic case studies on particular languages or language groups including e.g. Finno-Ugric, Sino-Tibetan and Japonic languages. The volume also includes a position paper, which provides an overview of the typology of different subtypes of DAM systems, a chapter on computer simulation of the emergence of DAM and a chapter devoted to the cross-linguistic effects of referential hierarchies on DAM.


  • Differential argument marking: Patterns of variation
    Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Ilja A. Seržant
  • Differential object marking in Chichewa
    Laura J. Downing
  • The evolution of differential object marking in Alor-Pantar languages
    Marian Klamer, František Kratochvíl
  • Spanish indexing DOM, topicality, and the case hierarchy
    Chantal Melis
  • From suffix to prefix to interposition via Differential Object Marking in Egyptian-Coptic
    Eitan Grossman
  • Verbal semantics and differential object marking in Lycopolitan Coptic
    Åke Engsheden
  • A diachronic perspective on Differential Object Marking in pre-modern Japanese
    Old Japanese and Early Middle Japanese
    Bjarke Frellesvig, Stephen Horn, Yuko Yanagida
  • Nominal and verbal parameters in the diachrony of differential object marking in Spanish
    Marco García García
  • Emergence of optional accusative case marking in Khoe languages
    William B. McGregor
  • The rise of differential object marking in Hindi and related languages
    Annie Montaut
  • The diachronic development of Differential Object Marking in Spanish ditransitive constructions
    Klaus von Heusinger
  • Structural case and objective conjugation in Northern Samoyedic
    Melani Wratil
  • Differential A and S marking in Sumi (Naga)
    Synchronic and diachronic considerations
    Amos Teo
  • Differential subject marking and its demise in the history of Japanese
    Yuko Yanagida
  • The partitive A
    On uses of the Finnish partitive subject in transitive clauses
    Tuomas Huumo
  • Some like it transitive
    Remarks on verbs of liking and the like in the Saami languages
    Seppo Kittilä, Jussi Ylikoski
  • The emergence of differential case marking
    Sander Lestrade
  • Reassessing scale effects on differential case marking
    Methodological, conceptual and theoretical issues in the quest for a universal
    Karsten Schmidtke-Bode, Natalia Levshina



Ilja A. Seržant, Leipzig University

Ilja A. Seržant is a postdoctoral researcher in linguistics at Leipzig University. He holds a PhD in both General Linguistics and Historical-Comparative Indo-European linguistics. He worked on DAM within his project The Diachronic Typology of Differential Argument Marking at University of Konstanz (2013-2015).

Alena Witzlack-Makarevich, Kiel University

Alena Witzlack-Makarevich is an assistant professor at the Department of General Linguistics of Kiel University. Her PhD thesis on The typological variations of grammatical relations treated the phenomenon of DAM from the comparative perspective and elaborated a set of variables required to capture the variation of DAM systems cross-linguistically. She co-authored a nuber of papers on various aspects of DAM both within case marking and within agreement.


May 9, 2018
LaTeX source on GitHub
Cite as
Seržant, Ilja A. & Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena (eds.). 2018. Diachrony of differential argument marking. (Studies in Diversity Linguistics 19). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1219168


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Details about the available publication format: PDF


ISBN-13 (15)


Publication date (01)




Details about the available publication format: Hardcover


ISBN-13 (15)