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The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research$
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Clifton Pye

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226481289

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226481319.001.0001

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The Structure of Mayan Languages

The Structure of Mayan Languages

(p.72) Chapter Four The Structure of Mayan Languages
The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research

Clifton Pye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the structure of the three Mayan languages K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol. It begins with an overview of the Mayan language family, which contains approximately thirty separate languages spoken by more than seven million people. The Mayan language family can be grouped into five main historical subdivisions: Wastekan, Yucatecan, Greater Q'anjob'alan, Greater Tzeltalan, and Eastern Mayan. K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol demonstrate how the comparative method can be used with divergent languages without overwhelming readers with too many different features. After describing the synthetic structure of Mayan languages, the chapter considers the central features of Mayan grammars and how these features vary among K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol. It examines the Mayan lexicon, verb complex, nonverbal or stative predicates, syntax, and verb nominalization. It also provides a background on the Mayan communities where the language samples were collected before concluding with an assessment of the acquisition database for the Mayan languages.

Keywords:   grammar, Mayan languages, comparative method, lexicon, verb complex, stative predicate, syntax, verb nominalization

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