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Linguistics Fridays: Armstrong – Verbs in Yucatec Maya
March 5, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Building verbs in Yucatec Maya out of lexical roots from Spanish: The role of form and meaning
UW-Madison, Spanish & Portuguese
The goal of this talk is to contribute to our understanding of the lexical influence of Spanish on Yucatec Maya by analyzing the ways in which borrowed material from Spanish is integrated into the complex system of verbal morphology of Yucatec Maya in a corpus of natural speech from both Maya monolinguals and bilinguals. I investigate the role of form and meaning of Spanish infinitives in determining how speakers make decisions about how to incorporate them into the complex system of root classes and inflectional paradigms of Yucatec Maya, which depend on both form and meaning. The data in the corpus corroborate previous claims in the literature that the form of Spanish infinitives, primarily the fact that they are polysyllabic, is the main factor that determines how they are morphologically integrated into Yucatec Maya. Meaning is shown to play a limited role in determining class membership of a few exceptional examples in the corpus.
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