this paper I revisit a number of issues in the grammar of Tongan, an ergative Polynesian
language (Eastern branch of MP) , in the light of recent developments in grammatical theory and
in the analysis of WMP languages in particular. I will argue that a number of the issues of
controversy in the treatment of the ergative languages of Polynesia, at least as far as they are
reflected in the grammar of Tongan, can be straightforwardly accounted for under an approach
which recognizes at least two distinct notions of subjecthood, as widely discussed in analyses of
WMP languages. These distinct notions of subjecthood originate in the split between 'referencerelated
' and 'role-related' properties outlined in Schachter's (1976, 1977) discussions of
subjecthood in Tagalog and are implemented here in terms of a distinction between a valencebased
notion of subjecthood ('grammatical subject') and a semantically based notion of
subjecthood ('logical subject', 'Actor', etc), as has been proposed for numerous WMP languages,
including those cited above.
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