Relative clauses in Yucatec Maya

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This paper deals with a number of relative constructions in Yucatec Maya (the Mayan language of the Yucatan Peninsula) where no overt nominal head is observed. In these constructions however, several elements are observed in the domain of the relative clause, such as determiners and quantifiers. The paper addresses the question of whether these elements should be analyzed as light heads in the sense of Citko (2004). Evidence is presented to argue that this is not the case. Instead, the evidence indicates that the relatives under consideration do have a nominal head, albeit one that is phonetically null. This null head, however, can still be modified by the ordinary nominal modifiers of the language, including determiners, quantifiers and relative clauses. Keywords: Yucatec Maya; relative clauses; null heads; noun phrase


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