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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 Transitive Verb Complex

The Acquisition of the Mayan Transitive Verb Complex

(p.162) Chapter Seven The Acquisition of the Mayan Transitive Verb Complex
The Comparative Method of Language Acquisition Research

Clifton Pye

University of Chicago Press

This chapter shows how children acquire the transitive verb complex in K'iche', Mam, and Ch'ol. The structure of the transitive verb complex differs significantly from that of the intransitive verb complex. The transitive verb complex has five parts: the aspect prefix, the subject marker, the verb root, the object marker, and the status suffix. The subject marker and status suffix differ from those in the intransitive verb complex. The aspect marker, subject marker, and status suffix are interdependent and together denote mood. In all three Mayan languages, the transitive verb complexes are more distinct than their intransitive counterparts. The chapter discusses the Mayan children's production of the transitive verb complexes in three moods (indicative, imperative, nominalized) in each of the three languages. 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, transitive verb complex, aspect prefix, verb root, object marker, status suffix, mood, Mayan languages, comparative method, language acquisition

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