Exploring finiteness and non-finiteness in Pima Bajo (Uto-Aztecan)

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This paper aims to provide a proper characterization of finite and non-finite clauses in Pima Bajo, a Uto-Aztecan language from the Tepiman branch. Our main research questions are, firstly, how to address the topic of finiteness in a language without morphological tense marking? And secondly, what are the relevant features or properties that distinguish finite and non-finite constructions in a language with no obligatory agreement markers? Finiteness and non-finiteness have long been discussed and analyzed in either formal or functional terms, mostly from a Eurocentric perspective. The most traditional notion takes finiteness to be associated with tense-aspect and agreement only, whereas functional approaches, consider finiteness to be a scalar, or gradient, phenomenon not reducible to tense-aspect marking and agreement. This paper analyzes finite and non-finite constructions in Pima Bajo, taking into consideration different morphosyntactic features, among them those that express illocutionary force and those that anchor the event. These features include aspect suffixes, personal pronouns, modals, and scope particles, among others. The analysis of finite and non-finite constructions in Pima Bajo shows that finiteness is a construction and language-particular phenomenon that cannot be reduced to morphological properties of the verb such as person and number agreement or tense marking.


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