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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 Acquisition of the Mayan Intransitive Verb Complex

The Acquisition of the Mayan Intransitive Verb Complex

(p.133) Chapter Six The Acquisition of the Mayan Intransitive Verb Complex
The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research

Clifton Pye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter considers how children acquire the intransitive verb complex in K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol. The intransitive verb complex has four parts: the tense/aspect marker, the subject marker, the status suffix, and the verb root. The first three are interdependent and together indicate transitivity and mood. The Mayan intransitive verb complex is polysynthetic in the sense that it denotes a complete proposition by itself. The verb forms in the indicative and nominalized moods are the most similar across the three languages, except that Mam lacks the status suffixes seen on the Ch'ol and K'iche' verbs. The chapter discusses the Mayan children's production of the intransitive verb complexes in three moods (indicative, imperative, nominalized) in K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol. It uses the comparative method to examine how certain pan-Mayan generalizations affect children's language acquisition with respect to K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol.

Keywords:   children, intransitive verb complex, K'iche', Mam, Ch'ol, status suffix, verb root, mood, comparative method, language acquisition

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