Australian Journal of Linguistics vol:30 issue:2 pages:183-207
This study investigates construction-level effects of animacy for Agents in a set of Australian languages. It is shown that the presence of an inanimate Agent can not only affect the marking of the Agent, but also the marking of the verb and of the Undergoer. On the basis of a detailed study of the extent of these effects in specific languages, it is shown that they are not always directly related to animacy, but can also be related to factors that are typically but not exclusively associated with animacy, like unusual instigation and unusual affectedness. It is also shown that there is a correlation between the part of the construction that is affected, and the type of motivation. Special marking of the Agent tends to be a direct animacy effect, while special marking of verbal transitivity is an effect of unusual instigation, and special marking of the Undergoer is an effect of unusual affectedness.