The Acquisition of Inflection in Q’anjob’al Maya

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Most studies on the acquisition of verbal inflection have examined languages with a single verb suffix. This book offers a study on the acquisition of verb inflections in Q’anjob’al Maya. Q’anjob’al has separate inflections for aspect, subject and object agreement, and status suffixes. The subject and object inflections display a split ergative pattern. The subjects of intransitive verbs with aspect markers take absolutive markers, whereas the subjects of aspectless intransitive verbs take ergative markers. The acquisition of three types of clauses is explored in detail (imperatives, indicatives, and aspectless complements). The data come from longitudinal spontaneous speech of three monolingual Q’anjob’al children aged 1;8–3;5. This book contributes unique data to the debate on the acquisition of finite and non-finite verbs as well as adding to our understanding of the acquisition of split ergative patterns. The book is of interest to researchers and students working on linguistics and language acquisition.

Subjects: Languages of North America; Language acquisition; Syntax; Theoretical linguistics; Morphology

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