The three basic arguments for any verb (intransitive subjects, transitive subjects and transitive objects) are marked in High Lulani. Because intransitive subjects cannot co-occur with transitive arguments, it is possible to mark either of the transitive arguments in the same way as the intransitive without confusion. In the ergative alignment, it is the transitive object that is marked the same as the intransitive subject. In accusative alignment, it is instead the transitive subject that shares marking with intransitive subjects. In either alignment, the intransitive case is the one treated like the intransitive subject, and the transitive case is the other.

High Lulani has an ergativity split, made down aspectual lines. A clause using dynamic or iterative auxiliaries uses ergative alignment; gnomic, stative and negative aspects attract the accusative.

Core Cases

The core cases mark the basic arguments of the verb. Common or proper nouns have no case markings for these, but the pronouns have different forms. Therefore only pronouns show the alignment of a sentence.


The intransitive case is used for the sole argument of an intransitive verb and for the unmarked argument of transitive sentences. This case is also used for adpositions.


The transitive case is used for the marked argument of transitive sentences, that is, the object in an accusative clause, and the subject in ergative clauses.

Oblique Cases

The two oblique cases are marked on the pronouns. For common and proper nouns, a clitic with the same form as the appropriate third person inanimate pronoun is placed before the noun phrase.

Sometimes the verb requires an oblique rather than a traditional object. In these cases, the subject is usually in intransitive case, although it is not incorrect to use transitive case with dynamic and iterative auxiliaries.


The ablative case is used to mark the proximate cause or the instigator of an action. With verbs of transfer or motion, it is also used to mark the source of a movement.

sacu sy because of you / from you

The clitic is kalu- kW.


The dative case was originally only used to mark the receiver with verbs of giving and transfer. The meaning has since broadened to show indirectness on the part of the patient for a number of verbs, including verbs of perception and emotion.

pixi PX to me

The clitic is ku- $ .