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Title: The family of complex predicates in Q'anjob'al (Maya); their syntax and meaning
Authors: Toledo, Eladio Mateo
Keywords: American Indigenous Languages (Northern)
Mayan Languages
Q'anjob'al - Grammar
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: University of Texas at Austin
Abstract: This dissertation describes six syntactic complex predicates in Q’anjob’al (Maya) spoken in Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala: the Directional Construction (DIRC), Verbal Resultative Predicate (resultative V1V2), Causative Predicate (causative V1V2), Complement-like Predicate (complement-like V1V2), Preverbal Resultative Predicate (R2°P), and Positional Resultative Construction (PRC). They resemble resultatives, serial verbs, and causatives in other languages. The dissertation describes their monoclausal structure, meaning, event and argument structure, and lexical restrictions. These translate into five parameters: (a) they have a single value of time, aspect, modality and polarity, (b) they have a single set of arguments, (c) they have one intonational contour, (d) the elements denote a single event or subparts of a macro event, and (e) the elements minimally involve argument sharing, but could also involve argument fusion, or composition. Regarding their structure, complex predicates involve four constructions: (a) a nonverbal-verbal construction used by the R2°P and shared by depictives (where it is a non-complex predicate and multi-headed clause), (b) a verb-verb construction used for causative, resultative, and complement-like V1V2s and shared by DIRCs, (c) a verb- directional construction, a serial verb type, where V is the main verb and DIR corresponds to up to three motion verbs, and (d) a verb-positional construction used by the PRC. In their argument structure, resultatives and causative V1V2s, PRCs, and R2°Ps involve argument fusion, complement-like V1V2s involve raising, and DIRCs may involve argument sharing or fusion depending on the particular type. Regarding event structure, resultative V1V2s, and aspectual DIRCs denote a single event, and other complex predicates denote macro events. Finally, lexical semantics is central for distinguishing complex predicates from each other and from other multi-headed clauses. This dissertation contributes to the documentation of Q'anjob'al and advances the syntactic and semantic analysis of Mayan languages. It also contributes to our understanding of complex predicates through a case study Q’anjob’al complex predicates have two main features: (a) they are of an asymmetric type in that one element functions as the ‘primary’ element, and (b) they always have a verbal element (V) with another element that can be verbal or nonverbal (NV). Thus, these complex predicates always have a verbal ‘primary’ element.
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