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On relative clauses and related constructions in Yaqui

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Abstract

This paper examines the form and function of relative clauses in Yaqui. Two major types of relative clauses are identified, subject relatives marked by -<i>me</i> and non-subject relatives marked by -<i>&#8217;u</i>. Additionally, there are three structure types which closely resemble relative units: &#8216;non-restrictive&#8217; relative clauses, the nominalized complement of certain matrix predicates, and the complement of a <i>seem</i>-<i>like</i> verb. Based on the assumption that nominalization is a gradient phenomenon (Comrie &#38; Thompson 2007; Koptjevskaja-Tamm 1993), it is proposed that Yaqui relative clauses establish different points inside the continuum, i.e. from clauses genuinely modifying a referential element to different degrees of clausal nominalization governed by a main predicate. Functionally, it is shown that true relatives introduce or further establish new information into discourse, whereas non-modifying nominal clauses serve as either appositive units (Keenan 1985; Carlson 1977), or as a core argument. Keywords: relative clauses; nominalization; complementation; Yaqui; UtoAztecan

References

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