Linguistics Department

Talk - Eladio Mateo Toledo (B'alam) of CIESAS-Sureste, México

Wed, April 10, 2013 | CLA 0.106

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Destinative construction in Q'anjob'al (Maya): Complex clause or complex predicate?

Purpose constructions are complex clauses with two situations linked by a purposive relation where the matrix predicate is performed with the intention/goal of obtaining the realization of a situation, the purpose clause (Cristofaro 2005:506, Schmidtke-Bode 2009:20, Verstraete 2008:764). This means that they involve intentionality on the part of an argument of the main clause, the purpose clause has an intrinsic future orientation, and the outcome is intended, desired, or hypothetical. These features are illustrated in (1) (based on Simonin 2011:2).

(1) a.   A monkey picked leaves or fruit in order to eat them

     b.   A monkey picked leaves or fruit in order to eat them, but it never ate them.

     c.   A: A monkey picked leaves or fruit to eat them.

          B: So did it eat them?

          A: I have no idea, but that was certainly its intention.

Q’anjob’al has three purpose constructions: motion-cum purpose, finite purpose clause, and a third type that I call a destinative construction (2), which I focus on in this talk.

(2) a.   Max-ach          y-i-teq             ix       s-q’ume-j

            com-abs2sg    erg3-bring-dir clf     erg3-talk-tv

            ‘She brought you to talk to you.’ 

      b.   Ay-ach            ek’       j-ante-j

            exs-abs2sg     dir       erg1pl-cure-tv

            You are here for us to cure.

Analyzing the construction as a purpose clause is problematic because intentionality is not necessary, as in (2b). Furthermore, its inflectional pattern violates the rigid (in)transitive pattern in Q’anjob’al as the second verb lacks an absolutive for 2SG. This pattern is similar to that of a complex predicate like the ditransitive in (3). 

(3)       Ch-ach             ul         hin-say                        w-il-a’

            inc-abs2sg     come    erg1s-look.for            erg1s-see-tv

            ‘I come to look for you (for myself).’ {txt062}

In this talk, I have three goals. First, I propose that that (2) is a destinative construction and not a purpose clause (i.e. the construction denotes a situation where the matrix verb makes available an entity that is earmarked for a particular use, specified by the second verb). Second, I show that the destinative construction stands between a complex clause and a complex predicate in Q’anjob’al. Third, I show that this construction is similar semantically to English WPCs (weak purpose clauses), but they differ in their syntax.


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