In the ergative-absolutive pattern, it is the S argument of an intransitive clause and the O argument of a transitive clause that are case marked identically by absolutive case
(which is prototypically represented by the absence of morphological marking).
In Ergative-Absolutive languages (Basque and Georgian), the terms Ergative case, Absolutive case
and Dative case were used in respect of clause elements in surface paradigms where Subjects of intransitive verbs and Objects of transitives were case-marked and cross-referenced in the agreement elements of the verb identically, and differently from the Subjects of transitive verbs.
Note that in the Tsezic as well as in other Daghestanian languages typical verbs denoting perception and other psychological states such as SEE, HEAR, WANT/LIKE/LOVE, KNOW and UNDERSTAND mark the subject with the Lative or Dative and the object with the absolutive case
(Comrie and van den Berg 2006; Ganenkov 2006).
Furthermore, for each language all or almost all vowels would then be markers for the Absolutive case
, but most nouns would lack an overt marker for the Absolutive case
A number of examples of this can be found throughout the corpus; note especially the following passage: nali faban(i)=ne-s sidarn(i)=a kul=or=o=m "the mountain cursed the deer (literally: the mountain spoke the deer curses)," where the deer (nali) is the indirect object, but has been promoted to the absolutive case
for discourse reasons.
The word meaning 'fish' is in the absolutive case
(unmarked in this language) when it is the "subject" of an intransitive verb (first example) or the "object" of a transitive verb (third example), and in the ergative case when it is the "subject" of a transitive verb (second example).
Nouns, noun phrases, proper names or independent pronouns take Absolutive case
in Maasai unless they occur as postverbal subjects (in which case they take Nominative case, as in 17) above.
All verbal predicates have at least one argument marked with the absolutive case
Dramatic evidence of this come from cases of opposite side reduplication, here illustrated by Koryak reduplication (Riggle 2003), which marks absolutive case
Hinuq has a gender system with five genders that are used to mark agreement between nouns in the Absolutive case
and the majority of vowel-initial verbs.
The default undergoer selection is found in (21a), in which balam miran 'beans' serves as undergoer and appears in the absolutive case
. The third argument, bayi yara 'man', is a non-macrorole argument and takes dative case.