Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Wh-indeterminates in Chuj (Mayan)

  • Hadas Kotek (a1) and Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (a2)
Abstract

This article investigates the varied uses of wh-words in Chuj, an understudied Mayan language of Guatemala. Cross-linguistically, wh-words are commonly used not only for question formation but also in a range of other constructions, including wh-quantification, indefinites, and the formation of relative clauses. In Chuj, we will show that wh-words are used to form indefinites (in certain limited environments), universal quantifiers, free choice items, and two kinds of free relatives: definite free relatives, but also the typologically rarer indefinite free relatives. We sketch an analysis of each construction, and discuss generalizations concerning their distribution. The varied uses of wh-words in Chuj support the view that wh-words are used in two capacities: to generate alternatives, and to create a movement/binding relation.

Cet article étudie les diverses utilisations des mots wh en Chuj, une langue maya peu étudiée du Guatemala. Du point de vue interlinguistique, les mots wh figurent non seulement dans les questions, mais aussi dans d'autres constructions, y compris la quantification wh, les indéfinies et les syntagmes relatifs. Nous montrerons qu'en Chuj, les mots wh sont utilisés pour former des indéfinis (dans certains environnements limités), des quantificateurs universels, des items de libre choix et deux types de syntagmes relatifs substantifs: les définis, mais aussi les indéfinis, qui sont typologiquement plus rares. Nous esquissons une analyse de chaque construction et discutons des généralisations concernant leur distribution. Les utilisations variées des mots wh en Chuj soutiennent l'idée que les mots wh ont deux fonctions: celle de générer des alternatives, et celle de créer une relation de mouvement ou de liage.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Footnotes
Hide All

First and foremost, we thank Magdalena Torres for generously sharing her language with us. For comments and discussion we would like to thank Scott AnderBois, Louisa Bielig, Elizabeth Carolan, Paulina Elias, Robert Henderson, Justin Royer, Radek Šimík, and especially Jessica Coon, as well as audiences at NELS (2016), WSCLA (2016), LSA (2017), NYU, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, and Yale University. Some findings here were previously reported in Kotek and Erlewine (2016, 2018). This research is supported by grant number WBS R-103-000-135-133 at NUS to the second author.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Aissen, Judith. 1992. Topic and focus in Mayan. Language 68(1): 4380.
Aissen, Judith. 1996. Pied-piping, abstract agreement, and functional projections in Tzotzil. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 14(3): 447491.
Aldridge, Edith. 2007. Wh-indefinites and their relation to wh-in-situ. Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (CLS 43) (2): 139153.
AnderBois, Scott. 2012. Focus and uninformativity in Yucatec Maya questions. Natural Language Semantics 20(4): 349390.
AnderBois, Scott. 2017. Focus, interrogation, and indefinites. in The Mayan languages, ed. Aissen, Judith, England, Nora C., and Maldonado, Roberto Zavala. New York: Routledge.
Bhat, Darbhe Narayana Shankara. 2000. The indefinite-interrogative puzzle. Linguistic Typology 4(3): 365400.
Bielig, Louisa. 2015. Classifiers and constraints in Chuj topic constructions. Ms., McGill University.
Bresnan, Joan and Grimshaw, Jane. 1978. The syntax of free relatives in English. Linguistic Inquiry 9(3): 331391.
Bruening, Benjamin. 2007. Wh-in-situ does not correlate with wh-indefinites or question particles. Linguistic Inquiry 38(1): 139166.
Buenrostro, Cristina. 2004. El sufijo -an en el Chuj de San Mateo Ixtatán. Anales de Antropologia 38(1): 255267.
Buenrostro, Cristina. 2007. Oraciones de complemento en Chuj de San Mateo Ixtatán. Anales de Antropologia 41(1): 239266.
Buenrostro, Cristina. 2009. Chuj de San Mateo Ixtatán. El Colegio de México.
Caponigro, Ivano. 2002. Free relatives as DPs with a silent D and a CP complement. in Proceedings of WECOL 2000, ed. Samiian, Vida, 140150. Fresno: California State University.
Caponigro, Ivano. 2003. Free not to ask: On the semantics of free relatives and wh-words cross-linguistically. Doctoral dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles.
Caponigro, Ivano. 2004. The semantic contribution of wh-words and type shifts: Evidence from free relatives crosslinguistically. in Proceedings of SALT 14, ed. Young, Robert B., 3855. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America.
Caponigro, Ivano, Torrence, Harold, and Cisneros, Carlos. 2013. Free relative clauses in two Mixtec languages. International Journal of American Linguistics 79(1): 6196.
Carolan, Elizabeth. 2015. An exploration of tense in Chuj. In Revue de l’édition 2014 de VocUM, ed. Pomerleau, Marc and Gendron-Pontbriand, Eve-Marie. Montréal: Université de Montréal.
Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen. 1991. On the typology of wh-questions. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen. 1994. Wh-words as polarity items. Chinese Languages and Linguistics 2: 615640.
Chierchia, Gennaro. 2013. Logic in grammar: Polarity, free choice, and intervention. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 1964. Current issues in linguistic theory. The Hague: Mouton.
Citko, Barbara. 2004. On headed, headless, and light-headed relatives. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 22(1): 95126.
Cole, Peter and Hermon, Gabriella. 1998. The typology of wh-movement: Wh-questions in Malay. Syntax 1(3): 221258.
Coon, Jessica. 2009. Interrogative possessors and the problem with pied-piping in Chol. Linguistic Inquiry 40(1): 165175.
Coon, Jessica and Carolan, Elizabeth. 2017. Nominalizations and the structure of progressives in Chuj Mayan. Glossa 2(22): 135.
Coon, Jessica, Pedro, Pedro Mateo, and Preminger, Omer. 2014. The role of case in A-bar extraction asymmetries: Evidence from Mayan. Linguistic Variation 14(2): 179242.
Davis, Phillip W. 2010. Topic in Mayan: Chuj. Ms., Rice University.
Dayal, Veneeta. 1997. Free relatives and ‘ever’: ‘identity’ and ‘free choice’ readings. In Proceedings of SALT 7, ed. Lawson, Aaron, 99116. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America.
Domingo Pascual, Pascual Martin. 2007. Stzolalil stz'ib'chaj ti’ Chuj: Gramática normativa Chuj. Guatemala City: Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (ALMG).
Fox, Danny. 2007. Free choice and the theory of scalar implicatures. in Presupposition and implicature in compositional semantics, ed. Sauerland, Uli and Stateva, Penka, 71112. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Gärtner, Hans-Martin. 2009. More on the indefinite-interrogative affinity: the view from embedded non-finite interrogatives. Linguistic Typology 13(1): 137.
Giannakidou, Anastasia. 1998. Polarity sensitivity as (non)veridical dependency. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Giannakidou, Anastasia and Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen. 2006. (In)definiteness, polarity, and the role of wh-morphology in free choice. Journal of Semantics 23(2): 135183.
Grosu, Alexander. 2004. The syntax-semantics of modal existential wh constructions. In Balkan syntax and semantics, ed. Tomić, Olga Mišeska, 405438. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Grosu, Alexander and Landman, Fred. 1998. Strange relatives of the third kind. Natural Language Semantics 6(2): 125170.
Gutiérrez-Bravo, Rodrigo. 2013. Free relative clauses in Yucatec Maya. STUF: Language Typology and Universals 66(1): 2239.
Hamblin, Charles. 1973. Questions in Montague English. Foundations of Language 10(1): 4153.
Haspelmath, Martin. 1997. Indefinite pronouns. New York: Oxford University Press.
Hopkins, Nicholas A. 1967. The Chuj language. Doctoral dissertation , University of Chicago.
Hopkins, Nicholas A. 2012. A dictionary of the Chuj (Mayan) language as spoken in San Mateo Ixtatán, Huehuetenango, Guatemala ca. 1964–65. Tallahassee, FL: Jaguar Tours.
Huang, Cheng-Teh James. 1982. Logical relations in Chinese and the theory of grammar. Doctoral dissertation , Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Izvorski, Roumyana. 1998. Non-indicative wh-complements of existential and possessive predicates. In Proceedings of NELS 28, ed. Tamanji, Pius N. and Kusumoto, Kiyomi, 159173. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Jacobson, Pauline. 1995. On the quantificational force of free relatives. In Quantification in natural languages, ed. Bach, Emmon, Jelinek, Eloise, Kratzer, Angelika, and Partee, Barbara Hall. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Katz, Jerrold J. and Postal, Paul M.. 1964. An integrated theory of linguistic descriptions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Klima, Edward. 1964. Negation in English. In The structure of language: Readings in the philosophy of language, ed. Fodor, Jerry Alan and Katz, Jerrold J., 246323. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Kotek, Hadas and Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka. 2016. Unifying definite and indefinite free relatives: Evidence from Mayan. In Proceedings of NELS 46, ed. Hammerly, Christopher and Prickett, Brandon, vol. 2, 241254. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Kotek, Hadas and Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka. 2018. Non-interrogative wh-constructions in Chuj (Mayan). In Proceedings of the Workshop on the Structure and Constituency of the Languages of the Americas (WSCLA) 21, ed. Keough, Megan, Weber, Natalie, Anghelescu, Andrei, Chen, Sihwei, Guntly, Erin, Johnson, Khia, Reisinger, Daniel, and Tkachman, Oksana, 101115. University of British Columbia Working Papers in Linguistics.
Kratzer, Angelika and Shimoyama, Junko. 2002. Indeterminate pronouns: the view from Japanese. In The proceedings of the Third Tokyo Conference on Psycholinguistics (TCP 2002), ed. Otsu, Yukio, 125. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.
Kuroda, Sige-Yuki. 1965. Generative grammatical studies in the Japanese language. Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ladusaw, William A. 1979. Polarity sensitivity as inherent scope relations. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin.
Larson, Richard K., Den Dikken, Marcel, and Ludlow, Peter. 2018. Intensional transitive verbs and abstract clausal complementation. in Non-propositional intentionality, ed. Grzankowski, Alex and Montague, Michelle, 46–94. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Li, Yen-Hui Audrey. 1992. Indefinite wh in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 1(2): 125155.
Lin, Jo-Wang. 1998. On existential polarity wh-phrases in Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 7(3): 219255.
Matthewson, Lisa. 2004. On the methodoloty of semantic fieldwork. International Journal of American Linguistics 70(4): 369415.
Maxwell, Judith. 1976. Chuj intransitives: Or, when can an intransitive verb take an object? Mayan Linguistics 1: 128140.
McCawley, James D. 1974. On identifying the remains of deceased clauses. Language Research 9: 7385.
Miller, Wick R. 1996. Sketch of Shoshone, a Uto-Aztecan language. In Handbook of North American Indians: Languages, ed. Goddard, Ives, vol. 17, 693720. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
Norcliffe, Elisabeth. 2009. Revisiting agent focus in Yucatec. In New perspectives in Mayan linguistics, ed. Avelino, Heriberto, Coon, Jessica, and Norcliffe, Elisabeth, vol. 59. Cambridge, MA: MIT Working Papers in Linguistics.
O'Flynn, Kathleen Chase. 2017. Quantification in Q'anjob'al. In Handbook of quantifiers in natural language, ed. Paperno, Denis and Keenan, Edward L., vol. 2, 697750. Dordrecht: Springer.
Pancheva-Izvorski, Roumyana. 2000. Free relatives and related matters. Doctoral dissertation, University of Pennsylvania.
Patterson, Gary and Caponigro, Ivano. 2015. The puzzling degraded status of who free relative clauses in English. English Language and Linguistics 20(2): 341352.
Postma, Gertjan. 1994. The indefinite reading of WH. Linguistics in the Netherlands 11(1): 187198.
Ramchand, Gillian Catriona. 1997. Questions, polarity and alternative semantics. In Proceedings of NELS 27, ed. Kusumoto, Kiyomi, 383396. Amherst, MA: GLSA.
Royer, Justin. 2018. A unified account of noun classifiers in Chuj (Mayan). Ms., McGill University.
Smith-Stark, Thomas. 1988. ‘Pied-piping’ con inversión en preguntas parciales. Ms., El Colegio de México.
Šimík, Radek. 2008. Czech modal existential wh-constructions as vP-level free relatives. Linguistics in the Netherlands 25(1): 121132.
Šimík, Radek. 2011. Modal existential wh-constructions. Doctoral dissertation, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Šimík, Radek. 2017. Existential wh-constructions. in Oxford bibliographies in linguistics, ed. Aronoff, Mark. Oxford University Press. URL <https://doi.org/10.1093/OBO/9780199772810-0162>.
Stiebels, Barbara. 2006. Agent Focus in Mayan languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24(2): 501570.
Vendler, Zeno. 1962. Each and every, any and all. Mind 71(282): 145160.
Williams, Kenneth L. and Williams, Barbara. 1971. According to our ancestors: Folk texts from Guatemala and Honduras. In Summer Institute of Linguistics publications in linguistics and related fields 32, 97108, 325–338. University of Oklahoma: Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique
  • ISSN: 0008-4131
  • EISSN: 1710-1115
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-linguistics-revue-canadienne-de-linguistique
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed