Relative clauses and nominalizations in Yaqui

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This paper focuses on the different types of relative clauses (RCls) in Yaqui, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in northwestern Mexico, demonstrating, on the basis of the nominalization properties exhibited by these types of construction, that they are in fact better analyzed as noun phrases headed by a nominalized verb. After reviewing the main features used in the literature to define RCls and presenting the major relativization types identified cross-linguistically, the different constructions that exist in Yaqui to relativize subject, object, indirect object, oblique and locative complements, are described. As these constructions show different nominalization properties, the nominal (non-finite) and verbal (finite) characteristics associated with the Yaqui RCls are explored in greater detail in the next section. Based on this survey of finiteness in Yaqui RCls, relativization in Yaqui is then considered as a nominalization process in which a finite verbal clause is adjusted to a noun phrase in order to be used as a modifier of the head noun. The last section provides a discussion about the connection between relativization and nominalization, and the characteristics of two different types of nominalization: lexical and clausal. Finally, the notion of referentialization, the act of referring to an entity, is proposed to refer to the nominalization function and to explain how clausal nominalization can be the basis of relativization in a large number of languages around the world, as is the case in Yaqui. Keywords: Relativization; nominalization; finiteness; referentialization


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