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The Scientific Interest of Ingush

         Here are some descriptions, in technical linguistic terms, of scientifically significant phenomena in Ingush.  The first two are established typological parameters that have resulted from past work on the language.  The rest are more recently discovered phenomena.  NOTE:  Sections 3ff are UNPUBLISHED DRAFTS and should be so identified in any citations.  (Sections 3ff. supported by NSF grant 96-16448 to the University of California, Berkeley.)

Contents:   1.  The original dependent-marking language
                    2.  The original preferred-intransitive language
                    3.  Tone system
                    4.  Long-distance reflexivization
                    5.  Obviation
                    6.  Heterogeneous paradigms

[Future sections to be added:  Type 5 clitic; vowel space; sesquitransitivity; origin  and  prehistory of Nakh-Daghestanian.]

For transcription used in examples, see Sound system and Latin transliteration.  For abbreviations used in grammatical interlinears, see Abbreviations.

1.  The original dependent-marking language.  Work on Chechen and Ingush in 1979 and 1981, following directly on library work on Northwest Caucasian (Abkhaz-Circassian) languages, led to the formulation of head-marking vs. dependent-marking language types.  Ingush is prototypically dependent-marking, Abkhaz radically head-marking.

Nichols, Johanna.  1986. Head-marking and dependent-marking grammar.  Language 62:1.56-119.

2.  The original preferred-intransitive (base intransitive) language.  Field work on Ingush in 1981, and comparison of Ingush causativization to the reflexivization used in the Russian translations in the field, led to the distinction of preferred intransitive (base intransitive) vs. preferred transitive (base transitive) languages.  A base intransitive language is one in which intransitive verbs are generally underived and figure as favored input (but not output) to derivational rules; in a base transitive language, transitive verbs are often underived and are favored input (but not output) to derivational rules.  Many Indo-European languages are base transitive; many north Eurasian languages are base intransitive.

Nichols, Johanna.  1982.  Ingush transitivization and detransitivization.  Proc. Berkeley Linguistics Society 8.445-62.
----, David A. Peterson, Jonathan Barnes.  1999.  Preferred transitive and preferred intransitive languages.  Association for Linguistic Typology biennial meeting, Amsterdam.

Supported by NSF grant 92-22294 to the University of California, Berkeley.

3.  Tone system.
         Field work undertaken by the Ingush Language Project has revealed the existence of a tone system in Ingush.  The system is interesting for being so minimal and yet so clearly a tone system, and for its interaction with the strongly serrated and parsed phrasal prosody of Ingush.  It is also of historical significance: it has correspondents in the other two Nakh language Chechen and in Batsbi, though neither of these has been described as having tone.  Several languages of the Daghestanian branch of Nakh-Daghestanian have been described as having tone (Kodzasov 1990), but tones have not been reported in the descriptions of Daghestanian languages available in English and their presence in Daghestan is not well known outside of Russia.  The Ingush system, though minimal, is of the same general type as the Daghestanian systems, confirming Kodzasov's analysis.
         In Ingush a handful of morphemes (all of them grammatical formatives) carry a tone realized as a high fall on the tone-bearing morpheme or (if it is enclitic) on the preceding syllable (even if that is an epenthetic schwa).  Historically, this tone may have been non-initial stress; but now stress in Ingush is invariably word-initial.

         The tone-bearing morphemes of Ingush are:

                   cy      Negative (converbial)
                   my     Negative (imperative)


                    -andz Negative (witnessed past)
                    -ar Witnessed past
                    -a=D, -aa=D  Nonwitnessed past   (D = gender suffix)


                    ='a  chaining particle
                    =je  'and'  (NP coordinating clitic)
                    =j / -ii  interrogative

Examples (circumflex accent indicates high tone):                                          Abbreviations

         aara-vealândzar                     '(he) didn't go out'
         diishândzar                             'didn't read'

         ... aara-vealâr Muusaa           '...Musa went out'  (witnessed past)
         ... aara-voâlar Muusaa           id.;  '...Musa was going out'  (imperfect)

         aarâ ='a veanna                    '(he) went out and ...', 'having gone out, ...'
         bwargjâ='a vejna                  'saw him and ...', 'having seen him, ...'

         naaniî=je   daâ=je              'father and mother' { naana=je daa=je}
         hwazâljg=je  chq'eariî=je   'a bird and a fish'   { hwazalg=je chq'eara=je}

         jaazdiezh viî ?                     'is (he) writing?'  { vy=j }
         jaazdôj ?                            'does (he, she) write?'  { du =j }
         jaazdârii ?                          'did (he, she) write?'  { dar=ii }

The interrogative clitic =ii is somewhat prone to carry the high tone itself rather than transferring it to the preceding syllable, especially when attached to a monosyllable:

         diec=iî  ~  dięc=ii ?      'isn't it?'

 High tone is not an automatic property of certain morpheme classes.  The witnessed past negative carries it while the present negative and the negative past participle do not:

         qejkandza       'uninvited'      (cf.  qejkândzar 'didn't invite')                  Abbreviations
         diezac             'doesn't want, doesn't need'
         xalac                'isn't'  (iterative)
         daac                  'isn't'  (simulfactive)

The tonal difference between the two negative morphemes is interesting, as the morphemes themselves are cognate.  The Proto-Nakh morpheme was *c(V).  In the witnessed past tense this *c has been voiced after /n/, which is the only remnant in Ingush of the ancient Nakh recent past tense suffix *-in (which survives in Batsbi and marginally in Chechen).  (For voicing of *c after /n/ cf. Chechen hinca, Ing. handz 'now'.)  This recent past suffix has high pitch in Batsbi and its descendants do in Chechen and Ingush.

The witnessed past ending -âr carries high tone while the homophonous ending of the imperfect does not.  The two tenses differ in vowel grade in some conjugations, but only in tone in others:

         malâr          'drank'
         molar          'used to drink'

         latâr           'fought'
         latar           'used to fight'

(The tone of these verb forms is discussed again below.)
         The three enclitics listed above have the high tone, but others such as the contrastive particle =m and the pragmatic particle =q do not.  Therefore, though Ingush cannot be said to have a tone opposition of even a minimal sort, it does seem to have a contrast between presence and absence of tone on some clitics and suffixes (but, interestingly, on no major-class root morphemes).
         The mild imperative ending -l also carries high tone which surfaces on the preceding vowel.  Native speakers mostly consider the high tone of the mild imperative to be a the question intonation contour and to be optional, but in natural speech it seems to be invariably present.

         Juxa aalâl.                                                                      Abbreviations
         back say.IMPVmild
         'Say it again (please).'

         Hwa-vięl uqaza.
         DX-V.come.IMPVmild here
         '(Could you) come here.'

Compare the plain imperatives:

         Juxa aala.
         back say.IMPV
         'Say it again.'

         Hwa-vie uqaza.
         DX-V.come.IMPV here
         'Come here.'

The same tone is carried by most of the same morphemes in Chechen (which, however, lacks the suffixal negative).  The Chechen-Ingush high tone of the mild imperative corresponds to stress on the relevant syllable in Batsbi (Holisky 1994:181), and Proto-Nakh non-initial stress may well be the source of Chechen-Ingush high tone.  At least for Ingush high tone cannot easily be analyzed as stress:  Ingush has fixed initial stress whose side effects are prototypically those of stress and not tone, such as reduction of unstressed vowels to schwa; and some of the high-tone morphemes contain this schwa, and those that assign the actual high pitch to a preceding syllable easily assign it to a schwa:

         Juxa aalâl.                                                                                      Abbreviations
         back say.IMPmild
         'Say it again (please).'

         jaazdâr=ii ?
         'did (he, she) write?'

Hence Ingush has both stress (fixed initial) and tone (high vs. lack of tone).  Distinctive high tone appears only on unstressed syllables.
         The finite verb in any sentence bears a pitch contour unique to it: a sharp rise-fall, which is located on the tonic syllable of the imperfect, the posttonic syllable of the witnessed past (as described just above), and the tonic (and usually sole) syllable of the present tense.  In a compound tense form, the auxiliary bears this tone (in general the auxiliary bears the verb-phrasal accent).  The precipitous fall to low tone on the syllable after this rise-fall is especially audible in the witnessed past negative, where the tone-bearing syllable is followed by another in the same word.  In the following example the low tone is underlined:


 A fuller tense paradigm of a verb, showing tones:

     axcha      dięza     cynna        'he needs money'
         "         dięzac         "           'he doesn't need money'
         "         dięzar         "           'he used to need money'
         "         diizâr          "           'he needed money (e.g. yesterday)'
         "         diizândzar   "           'he didn't need money (e.g. yesterday)'
         "         diizaâd        "           'he (apparently) didn't need money'

(Note:  This set of examples might suggest that tone causes vowel changes in the first syllable.  In fact, though, the vowel alternations are part of a more general ablaut system that is completely independent of tone.)

         The rise-fall pitch is imposed by the sentential prosody, and the syllable of a verb that it falls on is determined by the tone of the verb form.  As a result, there is actually a phonetic contrast in tone on stressed syllables, as the imperfect (with its rise-fall) differs in tone from nonfinite forms, nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and all words other than finite verb forms.  A minimal triad comes from the conjugation type in which witnessed past, imperfect, and verbal noun all have the same root vocalism (all have the same suffix or ending -(a)r).  Here the circumflex is used for the rise-fall and the acute accent for the higher pitch accompanying ordinary stress.

         lâtar     'used to fight'  (imperfect)
         latâr     'fought'  (witnessed past)
         la´tar    'fighting'  (verbal noun)

On all three forms the tonic syllable is the first one, as indicated by its amplitude and the reduction of all posttonic vowels (in the witnessed past the second syllable has the same schwa quality as in the other tenses).  Impressionistically, the witnessed past sounds rather like a Serbian/Croatian disyllable with rising pitch (though the precipitous fall to a low tone in the following word, i.e. after the high-fall tone, is unlike anything in Serbian/Croatian).  The verbal noun sounds like an initial-stressed word in any stress language, or like a word with a falling tone in Serbian/Croatian.  The imperfect, with its sharp rise (clearly audible even on a short vowel) and sharp fall to a low pitch on the following syllable, sounds like something one expects to find only in a language with a system of contrastive contour tones.
         The contrast of rise-fall vs. ordinary high tone on the first syllables of the imperfect and verbal noun is close to being phonemicized, given that it is part of the ordinary pronunciation of these forms in isolation.

Holisky, Dee Ann, with Rusudan Gagua.  1994.  Tsova-Tush (Batsbi).  137-212 in Rieks Smeets, ed., The Indigenous Languages of the Caucasus, vol. 4: Northeast Caucasian Languages, Part 2.  Delmar, NY: Caravan Books.
Kodzasov, S. V.  1990.  Fonetika.  311-47 in A. E. Kibrik and S. V. Kodzasov, Sopostavitel'noe izuchenie dagestanskix jazykov, 2: Imja. Fonetika.  Moscow: Moscow State University.

4.  Long-distance reflexivization.
         Ingush (together with Chechen) has the most extensive and well-developed system of long-distance reflexivization so far attested.  Reflexivization can go indefinitely far down into complex sentences and can extend indefinitely far across a series of chained clauses.  Interestingly for comparative syntax, in Ingush the controller of long-distance reflexivization need not be in the main clause, reflexivization is possible across an intervening subject not coreferential to the controller, and two different antecedent-reflexive sets can cooccur in the same sentence.
         In the following examples, subject (controller) and reflexive pronoun are in boldface.  ® indicates a shared argument; Ř is an anaphoric or other zero.
        Reflexive pronouns are used (as in many languages) on coreferents of the subject in the same clause:

(1)     Muusaaz    shiina            kinashjka    iicar                                  Abbreviations
          Musa.ERG  3sRFL.DAT   book      bought
          'Musa bought himself a book'

(2)     Muusaaz    shii                bierazhta         kinashjka  icaad
          Musa.ERG 3sRFL.GEN  children.DAT  book        bought
         'Musai bought hisi own children a book'

 In long-distance reflexivization, a reflexive pronoun is used in a subordinate or chained clause for any coreferent to the subject of a main (or higher) clause:

(3)     Suona  shie    bwarg-vejcha,   hwa-aara-vealar Ahwmad
         1s.Dat  3sRFL.NOM  eye-saw.CV    here-out-came   3s.Nom
         'When I saw him, Ahmed came out'   (lit. 'When I saw himself...')

 (4)     Cynna   dieza    aaz    shii     nanna     novq'ostal  dar
         3s.DAT   wants  1s.ERG  3s.RFL.GEN  mother.DAT   help   do.NZ
         'He wants me to help his mother'  (lit. 'He wants me to help his own mother')

         In addition (and atypically; this is quite unusual in the world's languages), long-distance reflexivization can be controlled from a non-main clause:

(5)     Suona  lovr             [ wa      cynga       [ hwaaj          nanna                      Abbreviations
         1s.Dat want.IMP   2s.ERG  3s.ALL   2sRFL.GEN mother.DAT

         novq'ostal-die ]  aalar ]
         help-do.INF     say.NZ
         'I'd like you to tell him to help your mother'

(6)     Dagadoagh=ii   hwuona,  [ aaz        hwaajga        [  *               sej
         remember=Q    2s.DAT    1s.ERG  2sRFL.ALL   (*=2s.Erg)  1sRFL.Gen

         nanna   novq'uostal-die ]   eanna ] ?
         mother.DAT  help-do.INF    QUOT
         Do you remember that I asked you to help my mother?

         Also atypically, long-distance reflexivization applies even if an intervening clause has a subject not coreferential to the reflexive pronouns's antecedent.  In (7), shie 'himself' in the lowest clause is reflexive despite the subject suona 'I' (underlined) in the intermediate clause.

(7)     Cynna       xov,       [  [ Ř        shie        bwarjg-vejna]    suona     xoza  xietalgja ]
         3s.DAT    know     (1s.DAT)  3sRFL   eye-saw             1s.DAT good  seem.SBJ
         'He knows I'm glad I saw him'

 Since both main-clause and non-main-clause subjects can control long-distance reflexivization, one sentence can contain more than one reflexivization chain.  In (8), one set of referents is italicized and one in boldface.

(8)     Cynna    xov,    [  [ shie    chy-jiecha  ]   cuo      shiiga               tilifon     tuoxarg-jolgja ]
         3s.DAT knows   3s.RFL  in-come.CV  3s.ERG 3s.RFL.ALL   phone  strike-J.FUT.SBJ
        'He knows she will call him when she gets home'

J. Nichols, Long-distance reflexivization in Chechen and Ingush.  In P. Cole et al., eds., Long Distance Reflexives.  [Syntax and Semantics, 33.]  New York: Academic Press, ca. 2000.

5. Obviation

         Obviation is the obligatory ranking of third person nominals (nouns, pronouns) based on discourse function, syntactic relations, and semantic properties such as animacy.  One nominal in a clause may be proximate (as are all its coreferents); the others (and their coreferents) are obviative.  Proximate outranks obviative.  Languages differ in whether and how they require that obviation ranking be aligned with syntactic relations and animacy ranking.  (This analysis of obviation, and the examples and criteria below, are all due to Aissen 1997.)
         In the ranking of syntactic relations for obviation, possessors are proximate, as are subjects.  Therefore the following configurations are problematic or impossible:
         (a)  possessor of subject is coreferential to object (bad because possessor is proximate, therefore subject is obviative and object proximate, therefore obviation and grammatical relations are misaligned):

             *Musa's wife is looking for him
             *Musa's friends got him drunk

but the same configuration is acceptable where the coreferential nominals are not third person:
               your wife is looking for you
               my friends got me drunk

         (b) main-clause subject (proximate) is coreferential to subordinate-clause object (which is then outranked by an obviative subject in the subordinate clause):

             *Mariem asked when Musa had seen her

         When animacy is aligned with obviation, animates are proximate and inanimates obviative.   Thus the following configuration is problematic or ungrammatical:

         (c)  inanimate subject and animate object of transitive verb:
            *the snow covered the dogs

but the same configuration is acceptable where both nominals are inanimate:

             the snow covered the ground

and of course where one is non-third person (since obviation applies only to third persons):

             the snow covered us up

         Obviation has so far been attested only in head-marking languages (Aissen 1997:743), where strictly grammatical constraints such as obviation are functionally valuable because they can narrow down the assignment of reference and syntactic relations to formally unmarked nominals.
         Obviation is also evident in Ingush, a strongly dependent-marking language, where it shows up as otherwise inexplicable gaps in formal antecedence, i.e. in contexts like (a) above.  Here are Ingush examples for the three types of context (a), (b), and (c).

     (a)  Possessors of subjects cannot formally antecede objects when they are third person.  In these examples, # means that the sentence is ungrammatical where possessor and third person pronoun are coreferential (but may be grammatical if they are non-coreferential).

(1)     # Muusaaj novq'ostazh yz voxavyr.                                          Abbreviations
            Musa.GEN  friends.ERG  3s  V.drunk-V.AUX.WP
            Musa's friends got him (=Musa) drunk.

(2)     # Muusaaj siesag jy yz liexazh.
            Musa.GEN  wife  is  3s  seek.CV
            Musa's wife is looking for him (=Musa).

(3)     #Bierii zhwalii caarna bwarahwazhar.
            children.GEN  dog  them.DAT  look.WP
            The children's dog looked at them (= the children).

(4)     # Muusaaj loalaxuochynna yz baazar=t'y bwargjvejr.
            Musa.GEN  neighbor.DAT  him  bazar=at  see.WP
            Musa's neighbor saw him at the bazaar.

(5)     # Muusaaj hwiexarxuochuo cynga laduogh.
            Musa.GEN  teacher.ERG  him.ALL  listen.PRS
            Musa's teacher listens to him.

The same ungrammaticality holds for possessors of subjects controlling possessors of objects:

(6)     # Muusaaj novq'ostazh cyn loalaxuo voxavyr.
            Musa.GEN  friend.PL  3s.GEN  neighbor V.make_drunk.WP
            Musa's friends got his neighbor drunk.

(7)     # Muusaaj siesag jy cyn mashien liexazh
            Musa.GEN  wife  is  3s.GEN  car  seek.CV
            Musa's wife is looking for his car.

For first and second persons antecedence is possible in the same contexts:

(8)     Hwa siesag jy hwo liexazh.                                                      Abbreviations
         2s.GEN  wife  is  2s  seek.CV
         Your wife is looking for  you.

(9)     Suoga sy hwiexarxuochuo laduogh.
         1s.ALL  1s.GEN  teacher.ERG  listen
         My teacher listens to me.

(10)   Hwa siesag jy hwa mashien liexazh.
         2s.GEN  wife  is  2s.GEN car  seek.CV
         Your wife is looking for your car.

 What is ungrammatical in (1)-(5) above is formal antecedence of an object or possessor pronoun by a possessor.  Implicit coreference is possible:

(11)   Muusaa novq'ostazh voxavyr.
         Musa  friends.ERG  V.drunk-V.AUX.WP
         Musa's friends got him drunk.  (Lit. 'The friends got Musa drunk.')

(12)  Muusaa siesaguo liex.
         Musa  wife.ERG  seek
         Musa's wife is looking for him.  (Lit. 'The wife is looking for Musa'.)

 Reflexivization is required when there is coreference to the subject:

(13)  Sej oazagh ciec vealar so.                                                          Abbreviations
         1s:RFL.GEN  voice.LOC  surprise  V.AUX.WP  1s
         I was surprised at my (own) voice
(14)  Muusaa shii oazagh ciec vealar.
         Musa  3s:RFL.GEN  voice.LOC  surprise  V.AUX.WP
         Musa was surprised at his own voice.

but is precluded in examples where neither coreferent is subject.  However, for speakers able to bend the rules of reflexivization -- which can occur, at least in elicitation, when a non-subject has pragmatic or other salience and precedes the other coreferent -- then reflexivization is possible (! marks a non-normative sentence):

(15) ! Muusaajna shii zhwalii t'y-weaxar.
         Musa.DAT  3s:RFL.GEN  dog  on-bark.WP
         Musa's dog barked at him.

(16) ! Muusaajna shii zhwaliez cergjazh tiexar.
         Musa.DAT  3s:RFL.GEN  dog.ERG  teeth  strike.WP
         'Musa's dog bit him'

         Finally, names and certain other nominals (e.g. kin terms) can simply be repeated where coreference cannot otherwise be indicated:

(17)    Muusaaj zhwalii Muusaajgh dadar.
           Musa.GEN  dog  Musa.LOC
           Musa's dog ran away from him.  (Lit. 'Musa's dog ran away from Musa'.)

(18)  Muusaaj kinashkja Muusaajga diexkar                                             Abbreviations
         M.GEN  book  M.ALL  D.sell.WP
         They sold Musa his own book.

         For the most part, syntactic configurations like those above are simply avoided when problematic coreference between third persons arises.  In the following examples, a very different paraphrase gives a close enough semantic equivalent.

(19)  Sy mashien suona jixie laatt.
         1s.GEN  car  1s.DAT  beside  stand
         My car is next to me.  (Lit. 'My car is standing next to me.')

(20)  Hwa mashien hwuona jixie laatt.
         2s.GEN  car  2s.DAT  beside  stand
         Your car is next to you.

(21)  Cyn mashien cynna jixie laatt.
         3s.GEN  car  3s.DAT  beside  stand
         His car is next to her.  (Not 'His car is next to him' with the two coreferential.)
(22)  Muusaa shii mashienaca laatt.                                                  Abbreviations
         Musa  3s:RFL.GEN  car.INS  stand
         Musa is with his car.  (Closest equivalent to 'Musa's car is next to him.')

     The constraints hold between a possessor and a coreferent, and not generally between coreferential non-subjects.  In (23) an object antecedes an object (the latter in a relative clause).  The relevant nominals are in boldface.

(23)  Siirda hwiezhacha maalxuo kamearsha jieq'ar shii zwanarazh
         light  look:IT.PPL.OBL  sun.ERG  generous  J.share.WP  3s:RFL.GEN  ray.PL

         caariegh hwiigaacha leattana.
         3p.LOC  thirst:IT.PPL.OBL  earth.DAT

The brightly shining sun generously spread (lit. 'divided, shared') its rays over the  earth that had thirsted for them. (V. Xamxoev, Vorh duucar)

Similar sentences could be elicited:

(24)  Aaz Muusaajna cuo diixaa kinashkja dwadalar.
         1s.ERG  Musa.DAT  3s.ERG  D.ask.PPL  book  DX-D.give.WP
         I gave Musa the book he had asked for.

(25)  Aaz Muusaaz diixaa kinashkja dwadalar.
         1s.ERG  Musa.ERG D.ask.PPL  book  DX-D.give.WP

(24) is grammatically correct, but stylistically bad or artificial; a null expression of one of the two coreferents is preferred, as in (25).  Still, the first example shows that objects can antecede pronouns.  In contrast, as (1)-(5) showed, possessors cannot antecede them.
         Within a single clause, coreference of objects seems to be simply impossible.  There is nothing that can be interpreted as coreferential.

(26)  Aaz Muusaajga yz viicar.                                                      Abbreviations
         1s.ERG  Musa.ALL  3s  V.tell.WP
         I told Musa about him (*Musa)

(27) * Aaz Muusaajga shie viicar
         1s.ERG  Musa.ALL  3s:RFL  V.tell.WP
         I told Musa about himself

(28)  Aaz Muusaajga Muusaa viicar.
         I told Musa about Musa.
         (Acceptable if there are two different men named Musa.  Even then, it is amusing.)

         Thus possessors behave differently from other nonsubjects as regards pronominalization.  Possessors can perfectly well be coreferential to nonsubjects, but they cannot formally antecede them in the third person while they can antecede them in the first and second persons.  Objects basically cannot be coreferential to other objects in the same clause.  They can perfectly well antecede pronouns in relative clauses.
         The behavior of third-person possessor pronouns looks very much like obviation.  There is a purely grammatical block to their anteceding objects, a block which does not apply in the first and second persons.

         (b) Subject antecedes subordinate-clause object.  This context is inapplicable for Ingush, which has long-distance reflexivization whose conditions are ideally met by (b) sentences.  Long-distance reflexivization and other principles for cross-clause control and coreference in clause chains are among the most salient features of Ingush grammar.

(29)  Wajshietaa daga daaghac shiina Mariemaa bwargj maca jejnii.              Abbreviations
         Aisha.DAT  remember D.AUX.NEG  3s:RFL.DAT  Mariem.DAT  eye  when   J.see.NW
         Aisha doesn't remember when Mariem saw her (lit. 'herself') (=Aisha).

(30) Wajshietaz Muusaajna shie maca bwargj jejnii eanna xeattar suoga.
 Aisha.ERG  Musa.DAT  3s:RFL when eye  J.see.NW  QUOT  ask.NW  1s.ALL
 Aisha asked me when Musa had seen her (=Aisha).  (lit. 'when Musa had seen herself')

         (c)  Inanimate subject and animate object.  Examples of inanimate subject and inanimate object are not infrequent in Ingush, occurring in stylistically excellent prose as in (31)-(33).  (31)-(32) have inanimate ergative subjects.  In (33), the tense is progressive and therefore the subject is nominative.

(31)  Loacabalcha sanna laattiissar cyn mexkaxoj --
         dumbstruck  as if  stand-stay.WP  3s.GEN  countrymen

         k'iezhagh diettacha c'iivuo c'ie deacha lejga hwiezhazh.
         stream.LOC D.beat.CV  blood.ERG  red D.make:PPL.OBL snow.ALL  look.CV

 The other Ingush watched dumbstruck as the spurts of arterial blood reddened the  snow.  (V. Xamxoev, Vorh duucar.)

(32)  Siirda hwiezhacha maalxuo kamearsha jieq'ar shii zwanarazh
         light  look:IT.PPL.OBL  sun.ERG  generous  J.share.WP  3s:RFL.GEN  ray.PL

         caariegh hwiigaacha leattana.
         3p.LOC  thirst:IT.PPL.OBL  earth.DAT

The brightly shining sun generously spread (lit. 'divided, shared') its rays over the  earth that had thirsted for them. (ibid.)

(33)  Bwastii jar walam shii doalahw dierzuozh.                                              Abbreviations
         spring  nature  3s:RFL.GEN  power.ADV  D.return:CS.CV
         Spring was returning nature to its power.  (ibid.)

Such examples show that there is no constraint on inanimate ergatives or inanimate subjects per se in Ingush.
     In elicitation, inanimate ergatives can also occur with animate objects, both third and non-third person:

(34)  Lejvuo leatta q'ejladeaqqar
         snow.ERG  ground  cover-D.AUX.WP
         The snow covered the ground.

(35)  So lejvuo q'ejladeaqqar.
         1s  snow.ERG  cover-D.AUX.WP
         The snow covered me.
 (36) Lejvuo doaxan q'ejladeaqqar .                                              Abbreviations
         snow.ERG  cattle  cover-D.AUX.WP
         The snow covered the cows.

In texts, however, such examples are vanishingly rare.  The few tokens are in translated texts.

         Obviation is functional in head-marking languages because, in clauses with two third-person arguments, it disambiguates the grammatical functions of the nominals by constraining them.  In Ingush, where the functions of nouns are clearly indicated by cases and where long-distance reflexivization and control of converbs impose constraints enough of their own, obviation would not seem to be needed. Nonetheless it is evident in possessor-object antecedence gaps, suggesting that it is a fundamental principle of language structure and likely to influence grammar regardless of whether it contributes directly to disambiguation.  In addition, in Ingush this residual obviation is one of several covertly head-marking tendencies in an otherwise strongly dependent-marking language.

Aissen, Judith.  1997.  On the syntax of obviation.  Language 73:4.705-50.

6.  Heterogeneous paradigms.

         Certain inflectional paradigms of Ingush are internally heterogeneous as to whether they are suffixal (inflectional, analytic) or periphrastic, whether their formation is basically derivational or inflectional, and whether they are head-marking or dependent-marking.

         Innovative nominative case form in nominalized adjective paradigm.  Attributive adjectives make a simple two-way case distinction of nominative vs. oblique; the oblique suffix *-chy is a declension class marker.  Nominalized adjectives take the full array of ordinary noun case suffixes after the declension marker *-chy-.
         Examples of attributive and nominalized adjectives, using both the non-agreeing adjective dika 'good' and the agreeing v.oqqa 'big' (v- is a gender agreement prefix).  Selected cases only.   . = inflectional boundary (including for thematic suffixes); - = derivational boundary; + = compound boundary.

Attributive ('good person')
          Nominative     dika sag                    d.oqqa  zhwalii
          Genitive          dika.cha saga           d.oqqa.cha  zhwalien
          Dative            dika.cha sagaa          d.oqqa.cha zhwaliena
          Ergative          dika.cha saguo         d.oqqa.cha  zhwalie(z)

Nominalized ('a good one', 'a big one')
          Nom.                dika                    d.oqqa
          Gen.                dika-chy.n                   d.oqqa-chy.n
          Dat.                 dika-chy.nna               d.oqqa-chy.nna
          Erg.                 dika-ch.uo                   d.oqqa-ch.uo

         In the nominalized forms,  of the nominative is a verbal noun (or nominalized participle) of 'be', and thus the whole compound is literally '(that) which is good'. The participial form of 'be' used in the fully periphrastic paradigm and in the nominative of the partly periphrastic paradigm is tonic and receives secondary stress.  Its vowel is unreduced.  The oblique forms in the partly periphrastic paradigms are suffixed, hence non-tonic, and all short vowels in them have schwa vocalism.
         Thus the nominative is a derivational (rather than inflectional) form, while the rest of the paradigm is inflectional.  Also, the nominative is periphrastic while the rest of the paradigm is suffixal.  The nominative morphology marks the form as nominalized; that is, it marks it as head of its own NP and is therefore head marking.  The oblique morphology is standard dependent marking.
         There is also a fully periphrastic paradigm (Axrieva et al. 1972:105):

          Nom.              v.oqqa
          Gen.                v.oqqa  v.olchyn
          Dat.                 v.oqqa  v.olchynna
          Erg.                 v.oqqa  v.olchuo

         Suffixal vs. periphrastic case paradigms.  The suffixal nominative/oblique opposition is used in most attributive adjectives:

                          'good person'       'cold wind'            'big dog'

        Nom           dika sag              shiila mux              doqqa zhwalii
        Dat             dikacha sagaa      shiilacha mixaa      doqqacha zhwaliena
        Erg             dikacha saguo      shiilacha mixuo      doqqacha zhwalie(z)
        All              dikacha sagaga    shiilacha mixaga     doqqacha zhwaliega

and in participles:

                            'child who is reading'    'book that has been read'

        Nom           diesha bier                     diishaa kinashjka
        Dat             dieshacha bieraa            diishaacha kinashjkaa
        Erg             dieshacha bieruo            diishaacha kinashjkuo
        All              dieshacha bieraga           diishaacha kinashjkaga

         There is another, periphrastic, declension consisting of the adjective in its uninflected (i.e. nominative) form plus the present participle of 'be' (inflected suffixally).  Periphrastic inflection is used with comparative and superlative adjectives, ordinal numerals, and a few adjectives that have implicit ordinal and/or superlative semantics.  The paradigm is thus:

         Nom.         d.oqqagh d.ola     'bigger'
         Obl.           d.oaqqagh d.olcha

Comparative and superlative adjectives:

        doqqagh  dola   zhwalii                                                      Abbreviations
         D.big.CMP dog
         '(the/a) bigger dog'

      * doqqagh   zhwalii
        big.CMP  dog

         So  doqqagh  dolcha   zhwaliena  bwarjg jejr
         me big.CMP dog.DAT eye J.see.WP
         'The bigger dog saw me'

         So eggara doqqagh dolcha   zhwaliena bwarjg jejr
         me most big.CMP dog.DAT eye J.saw
         'The biggest dog saw me'

         *doqqaghcha  zhwaliena
           big.CMP.OBL  dog.DAT

Ordinal numerals:  The following is a text example showing both suffixal inflection in the sense 'other' (the first boldfaced token) and periphrastic inflection in the literal sense 'second' (the second boldfaced token).

         -- Cwan  oaghuorahwa  modz=je  shollaghcha  oaghuorahwa                  Abbreviations
         one.OBL  side.LOC  honey=&  other.OBL  side.LOC

        deatta=je  uxazh 'a  xannaj   yz  govr, --
        butter-& go:IT.CV  & was.NW that horse

        eannad  shollagha   volcha   voshaz.
        said.NW  second  be.PPL.OBL brother.ERG

 'The horse had honey flowing on one side and butter on the other,' said the second brother. (HDJ 18; normative spelling ěshollaghaî retained)

Implicit ordinal:

         massa-jolcha    oaghuorahwara                                              Abbreviations  side.ADV
         'from all sides' (RI s.v. konec) 

There are also adjectives that are lexicalized phrases.  Their declension is periphrastic by definition:

        'intelligent person' (lit. 'person who has sense')

         Nom     hweaq'al dola sag                                                  
                       sense  person

         Dat        hweaq'al dolacha sagaa
                       sense  person.DAT

         Erg        hweaq'al dolacha saguo
                       sense  person.ERG

         All         hweaq'al dolacha sagaga
                       sense  person.ALL

Axriev, R. I., F. G. Ozdoeva, L. D. Mal'sagova, P. X. Bekova.  1972.  Handzara ghalghaaj mott.  Groznyj: Noxch-ghalghaaj knizhni izdatel'stvo.