Building verbs in Chuj: Consequences for the nature of roots
Jessica Coon
January 2018

This paper offers an in-depth look at roots and verb stem morphology in Chuj (Mayan) in order to address a larger question: when it comes to the formation of verb stems, what information is contributed by the root, and what is contributed by the functional heads? I show first that roots in Chuj are not acategorical, but must be grouped into classes based on their stem-forming possibilities. Root category does not map directly to surface lexical category, but does determine which functional heads (i.e. valence morphology) may merge with the root. Second, I show that while the introduction of the external argument, along with clausal licensing and agreement generally, are all governed by higher functional heads, the presence or absence of an internal argument is dictated by the root. Specifically, I show that transitive roots in Chuj always combine with an internal argument, whether it be (i) a full DP, (ii) a bare pseudo-incorporated NP, or (iii) an implicit object in an antipassive. This work contributes to the discussion of how valence morphology operates: in the spirit of works such as Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Sch¨afer 2006, I argue that valence morphology applies directly to roots, rather than to some “inherent valence” of a verb.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003565
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Journal of Linguistics (to appear)
keywords: roots, antipassive, valence, argument structure, chuj, mayan, morphology, syntax
previous versions: v2 [December 2017]
v1 [July 2017]
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