Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/217050
Title:
The Morphosyntax and Processing of Number Marking in Yucatec Maya
Author:
Butler, Lindsay Kay
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation is a theoretical and experimental investigation of number marking in Yucatec Maya, a language in which number marking has different properties than better known Indo-European languages with inflectional plural marking and obligatory number agreement. The primary goal of this thesis is to propose a formal syntactic analysis of plural marking in Yucatec Maya in the nominal and verbal domains. I do this by examining the distribution and interpretation of the plural morpheme and by proposing an analysis within a Minimalist framework. The secondary goal is to investigate how the formal representation of plural marking interacts with real-time sentence processing mechanisms. I do this through timed translation experiments (and a picture description experiment) with bilingual speakers of Yucatec Maya and Spanish, two languages in which the formal representation of number marking and agreement differs. These experiments are tests of the formal syntactic analyses proposed in this thesis, and they examine the effect of language-particular syntax on sentence processing mechanisms. In the nominal domain, I argue that the plural marker is adjoined to the Determiner Phrase, rather than heading a Number Phrase, following the syntax of plural marking proposed by Wiltschko (2008). It merges as an adjunct to the DP, lacking the ability to change the label of the element with which it merges. This analysis explains the distributional and interpretational properties of plural marking as well as the otherwise peculiar lack of morphosyntactic persistence in certain conditions in an experimental translation task. I also propose an analysis of plural marking in the verbal domain and its relationship to word order. In verb-initial clauses, the aspect-mood particle is the main predicate in T⁰ which is φ-deficient. There is no Agree for number between the plural-marked full DP and verb due to the absence of C⁰ (Chomsky 2008). For DP-initial clauses, a DP bearing plural morphology moves to the CP domain, triggered by a topic or focus feature. The uninterpretable number feature on C⁰ probes via T⁰ for an interpretable valued feature in its domain (Chomsky 2001). This analysis predicts asymmetric number agreement in Yucatec Maya, which is tested experimentally.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
plural; sentence processing; syntax; Yucatec Maya; Linguistics; morphology; number
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Linguistics
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Harley, Heidi

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleThe Morphosyntax and Processing of Number Marking in Yucatec Mayaen_US
dc.creatorButler, Lindsay Kayen_US
dc.contributor.authorButler, Lindsay Kayen_US
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation is a theoretical and experimental investigation of number marking in Yucatec Maya, a language in which number marking has different properties than better known Indo-European languages with inflectional plural marking and obligatory number agreement. The primary goal of this thesis is to propose a formal syntactic analysis of plural marking in Yucatec Maya in the nominal and verbal domains. I do this by examining the distribution and interpretation of the plural morpheme and by proposing an analysis within a Minimalist framework. The secondary goal is to investigate how the formal representation of plural marking interacts with real-time sentence processing mechanisms. I do this through timed translation experiments (and a picture description experiment) with bilingual speakers of Yucatec Maya and Spanish, two languages in which the formal representation of number marking and agreement differs. These experiments are tests of the formal syntactic analyses proposed in this thesis, and they examine the effect of language-particular syntax on sentence processing mechanisms. In the nominal domain, I argue that the plural marker is adjoined to the Determiner Phrase, rather than heading a Number Phrase, following the syntax of plural marking proposed by Wiltschko (2008). It merges as an adjunct to the DP, lacking the ability to change the label of the element with which it merges. This analysis explains the distributional and interpretational properties of plural marking as well as the otherwise peculiar lack of morphosyntactic persistence in certain conditions in an experimental translation task. I also propose an analysis of plural marking in the verbal domain and its relationship to word order. In verb-initial clauses, the aspect-mood particle is the main predicate in T⁰ which is φ-deficient. There is no Agree for number between the plural-marked full DP and verb due to the absence of C⁰ (Chomsky 2008). For DP-initial clauses, a DP bearing plural morphology moves to the CP domain, triggered by a topic or focus feature. The uninterpretable number feature on C⁰ probes via T⁰ for an interpretable valued feature in its domain (Chomsky 2001). This analysis predicts asymmetric number agreement in Yucatec Maya, which is tested experimentally.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectpluralen_US
dc.subjectsentence processingen_US
dc.subjectsyntaxen_US
dc.subjectYucatec Mayaen_US
dc.subjectLinguisticsen_US
dc.subjectmorphologyen_US
dc.subjectnumberen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineLinguisticsen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHarley, Heidien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKarimi, Siminen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBarss, Andrewen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNicol, Janeten_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHarley, Heidien_US
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