Manual 21026282

Manual 21026282
THE MORPHOSYNTAX AND PROCESSING OF NUMBER
MARKING IN YUCATEC MAYA
by
Lindsay Kay Butler
=
BY:
A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the
DEPARTMENT OF LINGUISTICS
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
For the Degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
In the Graduate College
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
2011
2
THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
GRADUATE COLLEGE
As members of the Dissertation Committee, we certify that we have read the dissertation prepared by Lindsay Kay Butler
entitled The morphosyntax and processing of number marking in Yucatec Maya
and recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement for the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Date: 18 April 2011
Dr. Heidi Harley
Date: 18 April 2011
Dr. Simin Karimi
Date: 18 April 2011
Dr. Andrew Barss
Date: 18 April 2011
Dr. Janet Nicol
Date: 18 April 2011
Final approval and acceptance of this dissertation is contingent upon the candidate’s
submission of the final copies of the dissertation to the Graduate College.
I hereby certify that I have read this dissertation prepared under my direction and
recommend that it be accepted as fulfilling the dissertation requirement.
Date: 18 April 2011
Dissertation Director: Dr. Heidi Harley
3
STATEMENT BY AUTHOR
This dissertation has been submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for an
advanced degree at the University of Arizona and is deposited in the University
Library to be made available to borrowers under rules of the Library.
Brief quotations from this dissertation are allowable without special permission,
provided that accurate acknowledgment of source is made. This work is licensed
under the Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/bynd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300,
San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
SIGNED:
Lindsay Kay Butler
4
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I owe many thanks to nearly countless people who were my mentors, my friends,
and many who were both, throughout the process of carrying out this research and
writing up this dissertation. First, and foremost, I would like to thank my advisor,
Heidi Harley, who has been a major force in my academic life. She’s been a friend
and a shoulder to lean on in trying times. I couldn’t have done it without her
direction and encouragement. She told me when I was wrong, congratulated me
for my accomplishments, and is really the very best advisor I could have asked for!
Thank you HH! I would also like to thank my other committee members, Simin
Karimi, Andrew Barss and Janet Nicol whose extremely valuable comments have
really helped me turn this dissertation into a worthy piece of research. Simin’s
seminar on the structure of the DP sparked my initial interest in this topic, and I’ll
never forget the day she said this is one dissertation she is really looking forward to
reading!
I also owe many thanks to Juergen Bohnemeyer and T. Florian Jaeger. Their
grants from the National Science Foundation, Studying Language Production in the
Field: Accessibility Effects on Variation (NSF 0848298 to J. B. and 0848385 to T.
F. J.) have supported me for the past two years, and will support me as a postdoc
for a year to come. Their grant, along with a Dissertation Improvement Grant from
the Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute at the University of Arizona
funded the experiments presented in this dissertation. It was really my training
with Florian and Juergen which encouraged me to dive deep into the grammar of
Yucatec. Their training also provided me with the skills to design, run, and analyze
the experimental data in this dissertation. Without them, it would not have been
possible. Thank you JB and FJ!
I would like to thank my early linguistics cohort and other colleagues and friends
at the University of Arizona for support as well. Thanks to Amy LaCross, Jeff
Punske, Jeff Witzel, Leila Lomashvilli, Mercedes Tubino-Blanco, Michael Don Anderson, Yosuke Sato, Jaime Parchment, Jerid Francom, Mans Hulden, Shannon
Bischoff, Polly O’Rourke, Jordan Brewer, Dan Siddiqi, Peter Richtsmeier, Peter
Norquest, and Ben Tucker. I’ve grown so much from interactions with so many
people at the University of Arizona. My first year, I worked for the LINGUIST
List, as a student editor for book reviews, which was a great opportunity to get
more involved with the community of professional linguists. I worked with Terry
Langendoen and Shiela Dooley, who were wonderful mentors and taught me much
about the process of reviewing books in the field. I am so grateful to have had the
sweetest first year mentor, Diane Ohala, to help me through a number of struggles in
my career as a grad student. In addition, I have gleaned so much from courses with
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Adam Ussishkin, Mike Hammond, Simin Karimi, Andy Barss, Tom Bever, Heidi
Harley, and Shaun Nichols and from being a teaching assistant for Natasha Warner
and Amy Fountain (who coined the term linguistic muffin). I am very grateful to
the attendees of the Syn-Salon meetings over the past few years who have given me
feedback on the research in this dissertation, particularly, Jeff Punske, Jae Hoon
Choi, Hyun Kyoung Jung, Greg Key, Deniz Tat, Dave Medeiros, Alex Truman,
Tatyana Slobodchikoff, Megan Schildmier Stone, Bryan James Gordon, Brian Ten
Eyck, and Yan Chen.
This dissertation would not have been possible (due to loss of sanity) without my
astronomy friends. At the University of Arizona, I adopted a cohort of astronomers,
first and foremost Jonathan Trump. He has been my lighthouse for the past three
years. He was always one step ahead of me, and seeing his many successes, from
defending to getting a postdoc to receiving media attention for a “paradigm changing” finding in recent paper, was all very motivational for me. He continues to set
the bar pretty high! Through Jon, I met Momma Magoo, aka Maggie, and Aleks
Diamond-Stanic and little Will (who is now a much bigger Will and expecting a
little sister). We never needed a reason to get together and share amazing food and
pompous beer with so many other wonderful friends, including Desika Narayanan
and Marie Kessler, Suz Tolwinski-Ward and Coley Ward, James Davies and Iva
Momcheva, Linda Imonode and Andy Skemer, Steph Cortes and Stéphane HerbertFort, Catfish Schad and Molly Keck, Kevin Flaherty, Jelena Vulkomanvich, Steph
Juneau and Jared Gabor, Brandon Swift and Kelly Cruz, Monica Stephens, Ben
Weiner, and Brandon and Alyssa Kelly. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of
friends. When we got together, we largely forgot about our real lives as academics
and lawyers and media personalities and such and set off on bike gangs, played ultimate frisbee, went hiking and backpacking, held extravagant potlucks, danced at
80s night, and many of you got into the habit of crashing Jon’s and my date night
at Zachary’s! You are all the best group of friends I could ask for!
Now, I have a whole other group of astronomy and astronomy-related friends
from UC Santa Cruz. Sijing Shen and Nic Petitclerc, Pascal Oesch and Annalisa
Pillepich, Dale Kocevski and Liz McGrath, Guillermo Barro and Elisa Toloba, in
addition to Adam Kapp and Ryan Teitman, thanks for the soccer games, the board
games, the BBQs, the brewing, the wine tasting, the hiking and backpacking, the
skiing, and being generally great people and amazing friends! Geoffrey and Colleen
Rutledge are my wonderful neighbors and friends in Santa Cruz. They are doglovers, and I can’t thank them enough for their friendship, their hospitality, and
for taking care of B.B., the beagle mix, when both Jon and I are away. And, I
appreciate B.B. for her puppy eyes that ensure that I never fail to get out of the
house or office for a walk and some fresh air! Patricia Wollan and Bill Lampeter
were my hosts and great friends during my time in Rochester. I only wish I had
had more time to bake delicious goodies for everyone in the house! And, I could
not have made it without the continual friendship of Gretchen Garman, who has
6
been near and dear to me for over fifteen years. I appreciate the encouragement
I’ve received from Sally and Jack Trump. And, to my parents, Gerald and Andrea
Butler, and my brothers, Wes and Eric, thanks for your support! I couldn’t have
done it without you all!
I also owe many thanks to the Department of Linguistics at the University of
California Santa Cruz where I was a visitor during the 2010-2011 academic year while
Jon was a postdoc there and I was writing this dissertation. They gave me a quiet
place to work and welcomed my involvement in department life. I have benefitted
greatly from attending colloquia, S-Circle and SS-Lab meetings over that year. I
owe many thanks to Matt Wagers, Sandy Chung, Pranav Anand, Jaye Padgett,
Jim McClosky, Ashley Hardisty, and Debbie Belville. I had many great discussions
(and/or some interesting pint nights) with the UCSC grad students, especially Anie
Thompson, Scott AnderBois, Robert Henderson, Matt Tucker, Jeremy O’Brien,
Katia Kravtchenko, and Allan Schwade. And, I would like to thank the giant hill
that leads to the UCSC campus for keeping me sane and in good shape as I rode
my bike up to campus before typing away at this dissertation.
I owe many thanks to my many hosts during my time spent abroad. Thanks
go to the Universidad del Oriente in Valladolid, my host institution for much of
my research on Yucatec. I owe special thanks to Samuel Canul Yah, Gerónimo
Can Tec, José Cano Sosaya, Angel Virglio Salazar, Marta ‘Bety’ Poot and Michal
Brody. In addition, I would like to thank audiences at various conferences where
parts of this research have been presented, including the 85th annual meeting of the
Linguistic Society of America in Pittsburgh in 2011, the 29th meeting of the West
Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics in Tucson in 2011 and the 42nd annual
meeting of the North East Linguistic Society in Toronto in 2011. I would also like
to thank three anonymous journal reviewers whose comments on Chapter 2 of this
dissertation improved it greatly.
Throughout my graduate career, I have been funded by the National Science
Foundation (NSF 0848298 and 0848385), a J. William Fulbright student grant to
Peru, a Dissertation Improvement Grant from the Social and Behavioral Sciences
Research Institute at the University of Arizona, two UA Graduate and Professional
Student Council travel awards, two UA Graduate College Fellowships, one in Linguistics and one in Cognitive Science, and a Foreign Language and Area Studies
Fellowship, which sparked my interest in Yucatec Maya in the first place. I am very
grateful for the opportunities these awards have afforded me. These opportunities
have occasionally led to a bout of Malaria or a case of Ringworm. And, others
have led me through temporary headaches and woes venturing into new academic
territory, but largely, they have made me the linguist that I am today, one who
combines field linguistics, theoretical linguistics and experimental linguistics, which
is pretty neat! I am so grateful to everyone and for all the opportunities that made
this dissertation possible!
7
DEDICATION
This dissertation is dedicated to my parents, Gerald and Andrea Butler. To my
father, who always told me that I could do anything I wanted to do (and that I
should do what I would do if I had a million dollars). And, to my mother, who
showed my how to draw my first syntax trees with a word processor many years
ago, when I was just a budding linguist.
8
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
ABBREVIATIONS USED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION . . . . . .
1.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1.2 Number marking in grammar . . . .
1.3 Number marking in GB/Minimalism
1.3.1 Number Phrase . . . . . . . .
1.3.2 Number marking in the DP .
1.4 Number agreement . . . . . . . . . .
1.5 Number in language processing . . .
1.5.1 Number agreement attraction
1.6 Yucatec Maya basics . . . . . . . . .
1.6.1 Argument marking . . . . . .
1.6.2 Constituent order . . . . . . .
1.6.3 Plural marking . . . . . . . .
1.7 Outline of the dissertation . . . . . .
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16
16
17
18
19
21
22
24
25
27
28
31
32
34
CHAPTER 2 THE DP-ADJOINED PLURAL . . . . . . . .
2.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.2 The typology of number marking . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3 Theoretical issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.1 Number Phrase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.2 Nominal denotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.3.3 Nominal arguments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4 Plural marking in Yucatec Maya . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.1 No obligatory agreement . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.2 The distribution of the nominal plural marker
2.4.3 Determiner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.4 Phrase-final particles . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.4.5 Classifiers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5 DPs in Yucatec Maya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.5.1 The syntax of DP elements in Yucatec Maya .
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37
37
37
39
40
41
44
51
52
54
55
56
56
57
57
9
TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued
2.6
2.7
2.8
2.9
The syntax of plural marking . . . . .
2.6.1 How plurals merge . . . . . . .
2.6.2 Where plurals merge . . . . . .
The Yucatec plural as DP-adjoined . .
√
2.7.1 Plural is higher than the root
2.7.2 Plural is higher than NumP . .
2.7.3 Evidence for DP adjunction . .
Revisiting the typology . . . . . . . . .
2.8.1 nP plurals . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.8.2 QP plurals . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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61
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64
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77
79
83
CHAPTER 3 C-TO-T FEATURE INHERITANCE AND NUMBER AGREEMENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
3.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
3.2 Predication and complementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86
3.3 Movement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
3.4 Agreement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
3.4.1 Agreement in VS sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
3.4.2 Agreement in SV sentences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106
3.5 Why is the syntax of the plural -o’ob in the verbal domain different
from the nominal domain? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
3.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
CHAPTER 4 EXPERIMENTS 1 AND 2: OPTIONALITY
4.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2 Experiment 1: Singular, “two” and plural nouns . .
4.2.1 Methods and predictions . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.2 Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.3 Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.4 Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.5 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.2.6 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3 Experiment 2: One, Two and Many . . . . . . . . .
4.3.1 Methods and predictions . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.2 Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.3 Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.4 Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4.3.5 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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113
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129
129
10
TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued
4.3.6
4.3.7
Comparing plural usage in Experiments 1 and 2 . . . . . . . . 134
General Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
CHAPTER 5 EXPERIMENTS 3 AND 4: CONSTITUENCY
5.1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.2 Acceptability judgments with plural marking . . . . . .
5.3 Experiment 3: Conjoined singular and plural nouns . .
5.3.1 Methods and predictions . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.2 Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.3 Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.4 Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.5 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.3.6 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4 Experiment 4: Constituent order and plural marking .
5.4.1 Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.2 Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.3 Procedure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.4 Results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.4.5 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5.5 General Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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138
138
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143
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154
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165
167
CHAPTER 6 CONCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172
APPENDIX A EXPERIMENT 1 STIMULI .
A.1 Singular Condition Items . . . . . . .
A.2 “Two” Condition Items . . . . . . . .
A.3 Plural Condition Items . . . . . . . .
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APPENDIX B EXPERIMENT 2 STIMULI .
B.1 One Condition Items . . . . . . . . .
B.2 Two Condition Items . . . . . . . . .
B.3 Seven (many) Condition Items . . . .
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APPENDIX C EXPERIMENT 3 STIMULI .
C.1 Singular-Singular Condition Items . .
C.2 Singular-Plural Condition Items . . .
C.3 Plural-Singular Condition Items . . .
C.4 Plural-Plural Condition Items . . . .
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11
TABLE OF CONTENTS – Continued
APPENDIX D EXPERIMENT 4 STIMULI .
D.1 Singular-Plural-Verb Condition Items
D.2 Plural-Singular-Verb Condition Items
D.3 Verb-Singular-Plural Condition Items
D.4 Verb-Plural-Singular Condition Items
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APPENDIX E ACCEPTABILITY JUDGMENT
E.1 One-One Condition Items . . . . . . . .
E.2 One-Two/Many Condition Items . . . .
E.3 Two/Many-One Condition Items . . . .
E.4 Two/Many-Two/Many Condition Items
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200
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202
203
205
STIMULI
. . . . . .
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208
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WORKS CITED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211
12
LIST OF TABLES
1.1
1.2
Set A cross-reference markers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
Set B cross-reference markers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
2.1
Yucatec Maya emphatic pronouns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
4.1
4.2
Experiment 1 conditions and potential responses . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Experiment 2 proportion of covariant and non-covariant plural marking on numeral-classifier- and numeral-classifier-less nouns . . . . . . 131
5.1
5.2
5.3
5.4
5.5
5.6
5.7
5.8
5.9
5.10
5.11
5.12
5.13
Proportion of acceptability ratings for one-one pictures
Acceptability judgments for one-two pictures . . . . . .
Acceptability judgments for two-two pictures . . . . . .
Experiment 3 conditions and potential responses . . . .
Plural marking on N1, N2 and V in SS Condition . . .
Plural marking on N1, N2 and V in SP Condition . . .
Plural marking on N1, N2 and V in PS Condition . . .
Phrase-final deictic particle use in SS condition . . . .
Phrase-final deictic particle use in SP condition . . . .
Phrase-final deictic particle use in PS condition . . . .
Experiment 4 conditions and potential responses . . . .
Order of constituents in responses in Experiment 4 . .
Order of constituents across conditions in Experiment 4
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141
142
142
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151
151
152
153
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154
158
162
164
13
ABBREVIATIONS USED
1 - first person
2 - second person
3 - third person
A - Set A cross-reference marker
AL - animal
AN - animate
B - Set B cross-reference marker
CL - classifier
CMP - completive
D1 - proximate deictic particle
D2 - distal deictic particle
DEF - definite
FEM - feminine
IMPF - imperfective
IN - inanimate
INC - incompletive
IND - indicative
IRREG - irregular
LOC - locative
MSC - masculine
NEG - negation
NOM - nominative
OM - object marker
PST - past
PL - plural
PRN - pronoun
PROG - progressive
PROX - proximate
PFV - perfective
REG - regular
SG - singular
Sp - Spanish
TOP - topic
TR - transitive
14
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
15
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.
16
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction
In this introductory chapter, I present some background on the variety of sub-fields of
linguistics which I bring together to present an analysis of plural marking in Yucatec
Maya that looks at the problem from all sides. In this dissertation, I present a formal
syntactic analysis of plural marking in the nominal and verbal domains along with
the results of four sentence production experiments which test the predictions of the
formal analyses investigate the real-time use of plural marking in the language.
In Section 1.2, I discuss the typological variation in plural marking. In Section
1.3, I discuss the analysis of number marking in the Minimalist framework and the
role of the Number Phrase. In Section 1.4, I discuss the operation of number agreement in a Minimalist framework, explaining the probe-goal approach to agreement.
In Section 1.5, I discuss the literature on the processing of number agreement. And,
in Section 1.6, I present the basics of Yucatec Maya grammar. Finally, in Section
1.7, I present a brief outline of the dissertation.
17
1.2 Number marking in grammar
Number marking across languages is extremely varied, more so that even some linguists may realize. Corbett (2000) points out a number of common misconceptions
about number marking in grammar, shown below in (1).
(1) Misconceptions about number in natural language:
• Number is simply an opposition of singular versus plural
• All relevant elements (e.g. nouns) will mark number
• Elements which do mark number will behave the same
• Number must be expressed
• Number is a nominal category
In many languages, number has two values, singular and plural. Some languages,
however, have three, four or even five number values. A language with three number
values expresses singular (one), dual (two) and plural (more than two) number. A
language may also express paucal (a small number).
Corbett (2000) also points out that in some languages, not all nouns mark number overtly. For example, some abstract nouns in English, such as honesty, do not
show number morphology, while others do, e.g. insult(s).1 He also notes that languages vary widely in the proportion of elements on which number morphology is
marked. Some languages mark number on very few items, while other languages
mark number on many.
1
I thank Heidi Harley for the example of insult.
18
Moreover, it is not the case that all elements which mark number will behave the
same. In some languages, like Maltese, a variety of Arabic spoken in Malta, there
are a few nouns which mark singular, dual and plural number, while the majority
of nouns, along with the pronouns, mark only a singular-plural contrast (Corbett,
2000).
Also, in many languages, number does not need to be expressed, nor is exclusively
a nominal category. In some languages, like Bayso, a Cushitic language of Ethiopia,
items can be marked by a form which is ambivalent as to number, in contrast to
number-specifying forms (Corbett, 2000). In addition, in some languages, number
marking can refer to the plurality of the event in a verbal expression rather than
the number of participants in a nominal expression. Corbett argues that these
misconceptions show evidence for the special significance of the topic of number
marking in natural human language.
1.3 Number marking in GB/Minimalism
The diversity of number marking has been examined in the functional-typological
literature (Corbett, 2000; Mithun, 1999; Smith-Stark, 1974; Stebbins, 1997), but it
has not received as much attention in formal generative syntactic theory. There
are important issues raised by number marking for formal generative morphosyntactic theory. Harley and Ritter (2002) present a feature geometry of person and
number features to account for a wealth of cross-linguistic variation in the typology
19
of person-number systems a formal generative standpoint. Another notable theory
with implications for plural marking is that of Chierchia (1998). Chierchia proposes
a semantic parameter according to which languages vary according to two features,
that govern the way noun are mapped onto their semantic interpretation. Chierchia
predicts that languages which are [± arg(ument)] and [± pred(icate)], like Chinese
and Japanese, will have noun classifiers and lack plural morphology. Chierchia’s
proposal has been argued to be too rigid (Chung, 2000; Deprez, 2005; Sato, 2008;
Gebhardt, 2009, inter alia), and I discuss how Yucatec Maya also presents empirical problems for this theory. Then, I present a morphosyntactic analysis of plural
marking in the nominal domain in Chapter 2.
1.3.1 Number Phrase
In the GB/Minimalism literature, number marking is generally taken to be the head
of a functional phrase in the nominal domain, most often referred to as the Number
Phrase (Ritter, 1991, 1995; Abney, 1987; Bernstein, 1991; Valois, 1991, inter alia).
The Number phrase is selected by the DP, and it plays a role similar to that of the
inflectional domain at the clausal level, the TP or IP (Abney, 1987; Brame, 1982;
Szabolcsi, 1983, 1987) (see Bernstein (2001) for an overview). Ritter (1991) shows
that in the free state noun phrase in Hebrew, the noun raises to Num for its number
in (2). Ritter proposes the derivation in (3) to account for the example in (2) in
which the noun axila ‘eating’ raises to Num to receive its number specification and
20
to derive the surface word order.
(2) ha-axila shel Dan et ha-tapuax
the-eating of Dan of the-apple
“Dan’s eating of the apple.”
(3) Evidence from Hebrew for NumP
This analysis of number marking has proven convincing and able to account
for number marking in a variety of languages from Hebrew to English (Embick
and Noyer, 2007), Romance and Walloon (Bernstein, 1991), and a wealth of other
languages. Yet there are numerous other languages for which this analysis has
been argued to be unlikely or problematic. Kwon and Zribi-Hertz (2004) examine
the differences in plural marking in Korean and French and conclude that Korean
lacks a Number Phrase. Similarly, Deprez (2005) analyzes Hatian Creole French,
a language without plural marking, as a language that does not project a Number
phrase.2
2
See also Wiltschko (2008) for arguments that not all languages project NumP.
21
Borer (2005) proposes that plural marking heads a Classifier Phrase in languages
like English and Hebrew. This is the same phrase which hosts classifiers in classifier
languages. Her analysis is based on the assumption that the function of plural
marking is similar to the function of classifiers: individuation of stuff into countable
entities. I examine these issues in Chapter 2, as I present the properties of plural
marking in Yucatec Maya. Yucatec Maya is a particularly interesting case because
it allows plural marking to co-occur with classifiers in the same phrase.
1.3.2 Number marking in the DP
There have been a few arguments for number marking occurring at the level of
DP, rather than NumP. Delfitto and Schroten (1991) present an analysis of plural
marking in French involving raising of N to to D. Ghomeshi (2003) argues that
the plural marker in Persian occurs in the Q/DP as well. Li (1999) proposes that
the morpheme -men in Mandarin is a plural marker (though it has formerly been
considered a marker of collectivity). Li presents data to support her claim and
presents an analysis of -men as occupying the DP. I will explore the possibility
that plural morphology in Yucatec is adjoined to the DP, based on the diagnostics
outlined by Wiltschko (2008) in Chapter 2. The DP-adjoined plural hypothesis
is attractive because it can account for the co-occurrence of plural marking and
classifiers as a syntactic restriction, rather than a functional one (Wiltschko, 2008;
Borer, 2005).
22
1.4 Number agreement
In a Minimalist approach to agreement, Agree is one of three basic operations of
the grammar along with Merge and Move. The Agree operation is a departure
from previous versions of agreement, such as “Spec-head agreement” in GB and
earlier versions of Minimalism, in which agreement was dependent on movement to
a specifier position (Chomsky, 1995). Agree is an operation that involves a probe
on a head, X0 , and a goal in the c-command domain of X0 . The presence of an
uninterpretable feature [uF] on X0 triggers the probe to search within its domain for
a goal with a matching interpretable feature [i F] that can value its unvalued feature.
Uninterpretable features must be deleted before LF in order for the derivation to
converge (Chomsky, 2001).3
Number agreement asymmetries occur in a number of languages and present an
interesting problem. Perhaps the most famous case is that of dialects of Arabic
(Modern Standard Arabic and others) (Aoun and Benmamoun, 1999; Benmamoun,
2000, inter alia). The examples in (4) through (7) from Modern Standard Arabic
demonstrate that in a subject-initial clause, full number agreement is grammatical, as shown by (4) and obligatory, as shown by the ungrammaticality of singular
agreement in (5). In verb-initial clauses, however, number agreement on the verb
is ungrammatical, shown by the example in (6), compared to the acceptability of
3
I will not take up the issue of number concord at the phrasal level (but see Wiltschko (2009)
for a recent proposal).
23
singular agreement when the verb is initial, in (7).
(4) ’al-’awlaad-u
naamuu
the-children-nom slept-3.masc.pl
“The children slept.” (Aoun et al., 1994, 197)
(5) *’al-’awlaad-u
naama
the-children-nom slept-3.masc.sg
“The children slept.” (Aoun et al., 1994, 197)
(6) *Naamuu
l-’awlaad-u
slept-3.masc.pl the-children-nom
“The children slept.” (Aoun et al., 1994, 197)
(7) Naama
l-’awlaad-u
slept-3.masc.sg the-children-nom
“The children slept.” (Aoun et al., 1994, 197)
In Chapter 3, I propose an analysis of how number agreement is carried out
in Yucatec Maya using a probe-goal approach. My analysis predicts asymmetric
number agreement, which is tested experimentally in Chapter 5.
There are important issues that remain unsettled with regard to number marking
in formal generative linguistic theory, as highlighted by Wiltschko (2008). It is my
goal that this investigation of number marking in Yucatec Maya will present some
direction for the resolution of these issues. I sum up the major issues in (8).
(8) Important issues in the formal analysis of plural marking (Wiltschko, 2008):
• Do all plurals head a Number projection?
• Is there a relationship between the Number Phrase and number agreement?
• Does identity of function imply categorial identity?
24
1.5 Number in language processing
Language production is a complex process which is traditionally modeled as starting
with the formulation of a message, followed by a level of functional processing during
which the speaker retrieves word lemmas and assigns functional roles, such as subject and object, to those lemmas. The next stage of positional processing involves
constituent assembly and inflection, which then leads to phonological encoding and
sentence production (see the model in (9) based on (Garrett, 1975; Levelt, 1989)).
(9) Language Production Model
25
Occasionally, the language production process can be derailed. Various types of
slips of the tongue are relatively common in fast speech. These errors have been
studied for a number of decades to reveal these various stages of language production
(Lashley, 1951; Fromkin, 1971; Garrett, 1975).
1.5.1 Number agreement attraction
Subject-verb agreement errors are common in fast speech. Bock and Miller (1991)
showed in sentence completion experiments that subject-verb agreement errors are
common when a noun phrase contains two nouns: a singular head noun and plural local “distractor” noun (e.g. The key[SG] to the cabinets[P L] are[P L] on the table
versus The key[SG] to the cabinets[P L] is[SG] on the table). In these cases, the verb,
which bears agreement morphology, fails to match the agreement features of its
controller, the head noun, key, in the subject noun phrase. In the psycholinguistic
literature, this has been called the “agreement attraction effect” because a local distractor noun, rather than the head noun, agrees with the verb. It is a phenomenon
that has been discussed for some time by theoretical linguists as well (den Dikken,
2001; Francis, 1986; Jespersen, 1924; Kimball and Aissen, 1971; Quirk et al., 1985,
inter alia). Since the findings of Bock and Miller (1991), a wealth of studies have
been conducted on the nature of these errors. A number of factors have been found
to influence agreement attraction, such as the markedness of the number feature
(plural but not singular distractor nouns induce errors), the structural depth of the
26
distractor, and linear order (Bock and Miller, 1991; Bock and Cutting, 1992; Bock
and Eberhard, 1993; Vigliocco and Nicol, 1998; Hartsuiker et al., 2001; Haskell and
MacDonald, 2003; Thornton and MacDonald, 2003). Most accounts of agreement
attraction assume that multiple noun phrases within a complex DP have independent number specifications (Eberhard, 1997; Eberhard et al., 2005; Franck et al.,
2002; Hartsuiker et al., 2001; Solomon and Pearlmutter, 2004; Vigliocco and Nicol,
1998). These accounts differ as to what causes agreement attraction. On one account, erroneous feature spreading in the hierarchical structuring of the noun phrase
is the source of agreement attraction (cf. Vigliocco and Nicol (1998); Franck et al.
(2002)). On another account, agreement attraction is due to confusion between two
nouns with different features while re-accessing information about the subject at the
stage of verb inflection (cf. Solomon and Pearlmutter (2004); Wagers et al. (2009);
Gillespie and Pearlmutter (2011)).
In the psycholinguistics literature, there has been some cross-linguistic comparison of number agreement attraction in English, Spanish, Dutch, French and Russian
(Eberhard, 1999; Lorimor et al., 2008; Vigliocco et al., 1996a,b). The extent to which
number-related factors other than the number feature of the particular noun phrase
in question, like distributivity, lead to number agreement attraction errors has been
shown to vary across languages. This variation has been linked to the inflectional
richness of the language (but see Bock et al. (2012) for evidence against this position). For example, Spanish, with a rich inventory of inflectional morphology,
27
shows more agreement attraction with noun phrases that are more likely to be interpreted distributively (e.g. the label on the bottles) compared to English (Vigliocco
et al., 1996a) (see also Acuna-Farina (2009) and (Jaeger and Norcliffe, 2009, Section 2.3) for an overview). There has been little work, however, on languages with
non-inflectional plural marking, such as Yucatec Maya. The secondary objective of
this dissertation, in addition to the formal theoretical analyses, is to investigate the
use of number marking on nouns and on verbs in number agreement in language
production experiments with speakers of Yucatec Maya. I hope to incorporate the
results of the language production studies in this dissertation into the larger picture
of number agreement processing.
1.6 Yucatec Maya basics
Yucatec Maya is a member of the Mayan language family. It has about 800,000
speakers in and around the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico (Bohnemeyer, 2002). In
this section, I will highlight the basics of Yucatec Maya grammar, from argument
marking in Section 1.6.1 to constituent order in Section 1.6.2 and on to the syntax
and interpretation of phrases involving number marking in Section 1.6.3. Some of
the data presented here are taken from Bohnemeyer (2002), Bricker et al. (1998) and
Bricker (1987, 1979, 1981), Verhoeven (2007) and Norcliffe (2009) who have built on
earlier work by Andrade (1955), Blair (1964), Blair and Vermont-Salas (1967) and
Owen (1968) on the grammar of Yucatec Maya. The data which are not attributed
28
to one of these sources were collected by the author, either in elicitation sessions or
in experimental settings.
1.6.1 Argument marking
Yucatec is a head-marking language that uses morphological cross-reference markers which affix to the verbal core. Yucatec, like other Mayan languages, has two
paradigms of cross-reference markers that encode person and number information.
Mayanists use the theory-neutral terms “Set A” (which has also been called the
ergative set) and “Set B” (which has also been called absolutive set). I will also
adopt the Set A, Set B naming convention. Table 1.1 shows the Set A cross-reference
markers.
Table 1.1: Set A cross-reference markers
Person Singular Plural
First
in(w)
k...-o’on
Second a(w)
a(w)...-e’ex
Third
u(y)
u(y)...(-o’ob)
The Set A marker follows the aspect-mood (AM) marker but precedes the lexical
verb. In the plural, the Set A marker is a discontinuous morpheme. The first part
of the plural morpheme is the Set A singular form, and the second part of the
morpheme, which follows the lexical verb and other inflectional material, is the
same as the set B plural forms. The set A prefix (which has been argued to be a
clitic (Bohnemeyer, 2002; Verhoeven, 2007)) is followed by an epenthetic glide when
it precedes a vowel-initial verb stem. The third person plural Set A marker, o’ob
29
is optional, while the first and second person plural Set A markers are obligatory
(Bohnemeyer, pc.).
The Set B cross-reference markers are shown in Table 1.2. In the plural, the Set
B verbal suffixes are homophonous with the second part of the discontinuous plural
Set A plural marker.
Table 1.2: Set B cross-reference markers
Person Singular Plural
First
-en
-o’on
Second -ech
-e’ex
Third
-∅/-ij
-o’ob
The third person plural Set B marker, o’ob, though homophonous with the third
person plural Set A marker, is not optional in Set B uses, though it is in Set A.
The Set A markers cross-reference the agent of a transitive verb, while the Set B
markers cross-referencing the patient or undergoer of a transitive, though the third
person plural marker is ambiguous between referring to the agent (as the second
part of the Set A plural morpheme) or the patient/undergoer (as a Set B marker),
a phenomenon which I will return to briefly in example (15).
Yucatec Maya is a split ergative language. The split is based on aspect marking
and only applies to intransitive clauses. The subject of an intransitive verb is marked
with the appropriate Set A marker in the incompletive, or imperfective, aspect but
with the appropriate Set B marker in the completive, or perfective, and in the
subjunctive and extrafocal aspects (Bricker, 1981; Bohnemeyer, 2002). The example
in (10) shows that in a transitive sentence, the agent is marked with the third person
30
Set A marker -uy and the undergoer is marked with the first person Set B marker
-en.
(10) k
uy
il-ik-en
impf a3.sg see-inc-b1.sg
‘S/he sees me.’
In an intransitive sentence in the completive, or perfective, aspect, the argument
is marked with the third person Set A marker, u in the sentence in (11) and with
the first person Set A marker in in the sentence in (12).
(11) k
u
wen-el
impf a3.sg sleep-inc
‘S/he sleeps.’
(12) k
in
jook’-ol
impf a1.sg go.out-inc
‘I go out.’
The same intransitive sentence in the imperfective (or incompletive) aspect, however, is marked with the third person Set B marker, -ij in the sentence in (13) and
with the first person Set B marker -en in the sentence in (14).
(13) j
wen-ij
cmp sleep-inc.b3.sg
‘S/he slept.’
(14) j
jook’-∅-en
pfv go.out-cmp-b1.sg
‘I went out.’
31
The plural morpheme -o’ob can optionally be used with a Set A marker in a
transitive clause. It also applies optionally to nominal phrases to indicate the plurality of the noun. When it attaches to verbs and predicate adjectives, as a Set B
marker, it is obligatory and cross-references a third person plural argument. Thus,
the third person plural marker -o’ob is three ways ambiguous, between referring to
the agenthood, patienthood or plurality of a noun phrase. In (15), the plural morpheme can be interpreted as modifying the noun ‘dog’ or the third person possessor.
In (16), the plural morpheme can be interpreted as modifying either the agent or
undergoer of the carrying event.
(15) u péek’-o’ob
a3 dog-pl
‘their dog’ / ‘his dogs’ / ‘their dogs’ (Lucy, 1992, 47)
(16) T-u
bis-aj-o’ob
pfv-a3 carry-cmp-pl
‘S/he took them.’ / ‘They took it.’ / ‘They took them.’ (Lucy, 1992, 53)
In Chapter 2, I examine more closely the morphosyntax and agreement properties
of plural marking in Yucatec Maya.
1.6.2 Constituent order
Constituent order is a highly debated topic among Yucatec Maya scholars. First,
there is some debate as to which constituent order should be considered canonical,
basic or underlying, VOS or SVO. Durbin and Ojeda (1978) and Hofling (1984)
32
argue that both VOS and SVO orders are basic orders due to the high frequency of
occurrence. They, among others (Bohnemeyer, 2009a; Tonhauser, 2009; Norcliffe,
2009), argue that SVO order is derived by left dislocation of a focused or topicalized
argument. Evidence for this position is based on the observation that the same order
obtains in relative clauses and agent-focus information questions. Bricker (1979)
reports that VOS is the order that is first encountered in elicitation sessions. She
also reports that SVO is also commonly used, especially in narratives. In addition,
Butler et al. (2010) reported a rate of over 98 percent of SVO sentences in a sentence
production experiment in in which Yucatec Maya speaking participants described
animated videos of transitive events between two characters (human, animal and
inanimate). Gutierrez-Bravo and Monforte (2009) argue that the basic word order
in Yucatec is SVO and propose that the language is subject to the EPP which
requires a preverbal phrasal subject. I will not address the issue of which order is
unmarked, but I will address the issue of how the different orders arise and what the
properties of number agreement are in the different constituent orders in Chapter 3.
1.6.3 Plural marking
The nominal plural marker -o’ob is the homophonous with the third person set B
plural cross-reference marker -o’ob. In a noun phrase referring to more than one
entity, plural marking is never obligatory. For this reason, Yucatec nouns may be
said to be neutral with respect to number (Lucy, 1992). Lucy (1992) notes that
33
Yucatec marks plural for a relatively small number of nouns, and he did comparative experiments with speakers of English and Yucatec Maya to examine use of noun
classification by shape, material and number. He reports that English speakers mark
plurals for animate and discrete objects significantly more than for substances, as
would be expected given that number marking is obligatory for count nouns in English. He reports that Yucatec speakers, however, mark plurals significantly more
on noun phrases referring to animate entities compared to discrete objects or substances. In the experiments reported in this dissertation, I do not focus on these
factors (though I do examine DPs referring to humans versus animals). The focus is
on other semantic and morphosyntactic factors that condition plural marking in Yucatec Maya. Nonetheless, there might be some interesting points to be made about
the differences between the populations that participated in Lucy’s studies and those
reported here. Lucy’s Yucatec Maya-speaking participants were exclusively middleaged men with little education, while his English-speaking participants were male
college students. My Yucatec speaking participants were mostly university students
as well, but they include a balance of male and female participants. I discuss this
more in the general discussions of the experiments.
There has been a recent surge of interest in plural marking in Yucatec Maya
as well as in other Mayan languages. Pfeiler (2009) reports the results of a developmental study with two Yucatec Maya speaking children on the acquisition of
numeral classifiers and plural marking. There are a number of interesting issues
34
from her work that I will mention throughout this dissertation. Henderson (2009)
and England (2011) examine number marking splits in Kaqchikel (Henderson) and
K’ichee’ as well as Mam (England) in which number agreement may or may not
be instantiated based on the animacy of the nouns. This dissertation differs in a
number of ways from these recent proposals. Mainly, I focus on the formal analysis
of plural marking and agreement rather on cognitive or functional influences, such
as animacy, which may also contribute to the use of plural marking in Yucatec and
other Mayan languages. But, also, I test for effects of humanness on the use of
plural marking in my experimental designs to find no such effect.
In the following chapters, I will present novel elicitation and experimental data
from Yucatec to supplement the description of the language and to examine a number of issues relevant to current debates on plural marking, agreement and constituent order.
1.7 Outline of the dissertation
In Chapter 2, I present a formal analysis of plural marking in the DP in Yucatec
Maya. This analysis is couched within a Minimalist/Distributed Morphology framework. I propose that the nominal plural marker does not head a functional Number
projection, as has been proposed for many other languages. I present distributional
and interpretational evidence that the plural marker is instead adjoined to the DP.
This type of language is predicted by Wiltschko (2008), in which she proposes that
35
√
plural marking can vary according to where the plural is merged ( P, nP, NumP,
DP) and how the plural is merged (as a head or an adjunct). Yucatec Maya is the
DP-adjunct type.
In Chapter 3, I develop a theory of number agreement in Yucatec Maya. I
argue that in verb-initial intransitive clauses in the imperfective, the aspect-mood
particle is the main predicate in T0 which is φ-deficient. There is no Agree for
number between the verb and full DP subject due to the absence of C0 , which is a
phase and host for uninterpretable features (Chomsky, 2008). For DP-initial clauses
with plural morphology, the DP moves to the CP domain, triggered by a topic or
focus feature. The uninterpretable number feature on C0 is inherited by T0 and
then probes for a matching valued feature in its domain (Chomsky, 2001). This
C-to-T inheritance analysis predicts asymmetric number agreement in Yucatec, a
phenomenon which is tested experimentally in Chapter 5.
In Chapter 4, I present the results of two experiments which test the adjunct
status of the plural marker in Yucatec Maya. Experiment 1 is a translation task
in which participants translated sentences from Spanish to Yucatec. The stimulus
sentences presented an intransitive verb with a subject that varied in number: singular, “two” and plural. I look at the use of plural marking in the various number
conditions, and how often it was used with a numeral. In addition, I look at whether
participants prefer covariant plural marking, i.e. marking on both the subject and
verb. Experiment 2, which is a picture description task, rules out the potential of
36
cross-linguistic priming, or morphosyntactic persistence, from Spanish to Yucatec
which could have influenced the use of plural marking in the Yucatec responses in
the translation task in Experiment 1.
In Chapter 5, I present the results of two additional experiments which test the
constituency and agreement properties predicted by my proposals in Chapters 2 and
3. In Chapter 2, I argued for an analysis of the nominal plural marker as adjoined to
the DP. Experiment 3 tests this hypothesis in a translation task in which participants
translated sentences with intransitive verbs and conjoined noun phrases varying in
number marking from Spanish to Yucatec. Experiment 4 tests the predictions of
the C-to-T inheritance hypothesis presented in Chapter 3, which predicts that in
verb-initial clauses, there is no obligatory formal agreement operation between the
predicate AM marker and a full DP bearing plural morphology within the nominalized clause it selects. When a full DP is moved to a pre-verbal position, however, it
predicts that there is an obligatory formal agreement operation for number.
37
CHAPTER 2
THE DP-ADJOINED PLURAL
2.1 Introduction
In this chapter, I present a formal analysis of the nominal plural marker in Yucatec Maya in a Minimalist/Distributed Morphology framework. First, I discuss
some interesting cross-linguistic variation in the morphosyntax of plural marking. I
discuss how this variation has triggered important theoretical debates about nominal denotation and the nature of nominal arguments as well as number features
and agreement. Following that, I discuss the basics of the DP in Yucatec Maya. I
discuss what elements reside in the DP and what their syntax is. Based on those
assumptions, I present arguments for the analysis of the Yucatec Maya nominal
plural marker as adjoined to the Determiner projection. This analysis of Yucatec
Maya fits into Wiltschko (2008)’s formal syntactic typology of plural marking and
expands the empirical coverage of the typology.
2.2 The typology of number marking
Number is inflectional and obligatory on countable nouns in many well-known IndoEuropean languages. In these languages, there is often number agreement within the
38
noun phrase (concord) and between nominal and verbal elements. The examples in
(17) through (20) below show that in Spanish, there is obligatory concord for number
between the determiner and noun and there is obligatory number agreement between
the noun and the verb.
(17) Las
muchach-as est-án
cant-ando
def.fem.pl girlfem.pl be-prog.3.pl sing-ger
‘The girls are singing.’
(18) *Las
muchach-a est-án
cant-ando
def.fem.pl girl-fem.sg be-prog.3.pl sing-ger
‘The girls are singing.’
(19) *La
muchach-as est-án
cant-ando
def.fem.sg girl-fem.pl be-prog.3.pl sing-ger
‘The girls are singing.’
(20) *Las
muchach-as est-á
cant-ando
def.fem.pl girl-fem.pl be-prog.3.sg sing-ger
‘The girls are singing.’
In the example in (17), the determiner and noun match in plural form along
with the noun and the verb. The example in (18), however shows that a sentence
in which the determiner is in the plural form while the noun is in the singular form
is ungrammatical. Likewise, the example in (19) shows that a singular determiner
with a plural noun is ungrammatical, even if the noun and verb match, both having
a plural form. Finally, the example in (20) shows that even if there is concord
between the determiner and noun, which show the same plural forms, the sentence
is ungrammatical because the plural form of the nominal does not match the singular
39
form of the verb. Number concord within the noun phrase and agreement between
the nominal and verbal elements is obligatory in Spanish.
In many other languages, however, number is not marked, or is optional, or
conditioned by syntax-external factors, such as the animacy of the noun (Corbett,
2000; Mithun, 1999). In Yucatec Maya, plural marking in the noun phrase is not
required for a noun to be interpreted as referring to a plurality, as shown in (21).
(21) le x-ch’úupal-o’
def fem-girl-d2
‘the girl (there)’ / ‘the girls (there)’
There are other aspects of number marking in Yucatec which present empirical
challenges for some common approaches to number marking. In the next section, I
will investigate more of the typological variation in plural marking as it relates to
theoretical debates about the syntax of number, the function of number marking,
nominal denotation and nominal argumenthood and number features and number
agreement.
2.3 Theoretical issues
There is a wealth of literature on the semantics of bare nouns, genericity and the
mass/count distinction (especially since Carlson (1977)), but there has been less
research into the morpho-syntax related to these issues. In the next sections, I
40
discuss these issues, even though I will not be able to propose conclusive solutions
to all of them.
2.3.1 Number Phrase
The generally accepted analysis of inflectional plural morphology in the DP is that
it occupies the head of a functional projection, called Number Phrase or #P. This
analysis has been well established cross-linguistically for languages such as Hebrew
(Ritter, 1991, 1992), Romance (Bernstein, 1993), Arabic (Fassi-Fehri, 1993; Zabbal, 2002), Welsh (Rouveret, 1994), English (Embick and Noyer, 2007) and Kiowa
(Harbour, 2007), among others. Some languages, however, have been argued to lack
a Number Phrase completely (Ghomeshi, 2003, for Persian) (Deprez, 2005, for Hatian) (Kwon and Zribi-Hertz, 2004, for Korean). Lacking a Number Phrase has been
connected to the absence of agreement for number (Kwon and Zribi-Hertz, 2004)
(but see Wiltschko (2009) for an alternative proposal under which a language could
have number agreement without a Number Phrase). Additionally, some languages
have been argued to have plural morphology which resides in some phrase other
than NumP. For example, Wiltschko (2008) proposes that the plural in Halkomelem
Salish is adjoined to the
√
P. Arguments for plurals in nP have been made by Ac-
quaviva (2008) and Alexiadou (2010) as well as Kramer (2009) for Amharic irregular
plurals and Gillon (in prep.) for some plural marking in Innu-Aimun. Additionally, plural marking in D/QP has been proposed for Persian (Ghomeshi, 2003), but
41
see Gebhardt (2009) for arguments against the D/QP analysis and for the NumP
analysis of plural morphology in Persian.
I argue that the plural marker in Yucatec Maya is adjoined to the DP, based the
syntactic typology of plural marking Wiltschko (2008). I do not necessarily take the
position that because the overt plural marker resides in DP, the language lacks a
NumP. It may be possible that NumP is the phrase which hosts a numeral classifier.
It is also possible that there is a null head in NumP. Also, there may be evidence
from N-movement to believe that Yucatec Maya does in fact have a NumP. I discuss
these issues more in Section 2.5.
2.3.2 Nominal denotation
What do bare nouns denote? Is the mass/count distinction lexically based or derived
in the syntax? There is increasing evidence for the position that the mass/count
distinction is rather elastic (Chierchia, 2010). There are many nouns that appear in
mass and count contexts alike (e.g. much hope, many hopes) (Katz and Zamparelli,
2011, who present a a large-scale quantitative distributional analysis of mass/count
in English).1 If these analyses are on the right track, the mass/count distinction is
not lexically-based (as argued by Chierchia (1998)) but is a syntactic phenomenon.
It brings the analysis of languages such as English much closer to languages with
classifiers, in which the mass/count distinction is argued to be absent at the lexical
1
See also Barner and Snedeker (2005); Barner et al. (2008) for evidence from psycholinguistic
experiments that individuation of countable nouns is derived from the syntax.
42
level and necessarily derived in the syntax. If the mass/count distinction is derived
through the syntax, as argued by Borer (2005), then the role of the Number Phrase is
increasingly important. Borer (2005) proposes that a Classifier Phrase is responsible
for individuation of stuff into countable entities in all languages, but languages vary
as to what lexeme fills that position: number marking or classifier. There are a
number of languages which present empirical problems for any theory which rigidly
rules out the co-occurrence of plural morphology and classifiers, such as Borer (2005),
Chierchia (1998) and Sanches and Slobin (1973). Plural marking and classifiers cooccur even within the same noun phrase in Yucatec Maya. This phenomenon can
be found in elicited examples, as in (22), as well as in narratives, examples (23) and
(24).2
3
(22) ka’a-túul x-ch’úupal-o’ob
two-cl.an fem-girl-pl
‘two girls’
(23) óox-p’éel ja’ab-o’ob
three-cl.in year-pl
‘three years’ (Blair and Vermont-Salas, 1967, 454)
(24) le óox-p’éel
siidra-o’ob-o’
def three-cl.an cider-pl-d2
‘the three ciders’ (Andrade and Máas-Collı́, 1999, 216)
Plural marking and classifiers have been shown to co-occur within the same
2
These examples are not partitives. In Yucatec the partitive has a definite determiner between
the numeral-classifier and noun, e.g. ka’a-túul le x-ch’úupal-o’ob (two-cl.an def fem-girl-pl)
‘two of the girls.’ I thank Scott AnderBois for this question.
3
I thank Judith Aissen for the suggestion to look for examples in narratives.
43
phrase in Persian as well (Gebhardt, 2009) (and Karimi, pc.). Examples are shown
in (25) and (26).
(25) se
ta gorbe-ha
three cl cat-pl
‘three cats’ (Gebhardt, 2009, 20)
(26) un do ta mænzel-ha
dem two cl house-pl
‘those two houses’ (Gebhardt, 2009, 75)
Classifiers co-occur with plural morphology in a number of other Mayan languages as well. In Jakaltek Maya, the plural morpheme co-occurs with numeral and
noun classifiers. The plural morpheme heb’ used for nouns referring to humans,
as in (27), co-occurs with the numeral classifier wan̈ as well as the noun classifier
naj. Likewise in (28), the plural morpheme hej, used for nouns referring to animals,
co-occurs with the numeral classifier c’on̈ and the noun classifier no7.4
(27) ca-wan̈
heb’
naj
winaj
2-cl.nm.human pl.human cl.n.man man
“the two men”
(28) ca-c’on̈
(hej)
no7
nok’
2-cl.nm.animal pl.animal cl.n.animal animal
“the two animals” (Craig, 1986, 15)
If the DP-adjoined nominal plural analysis, which I present in this chapter, is
correct, it suggests one way in which plural morphology and classifiers can co-occur,
4
Another interesting aspect of Jakaltek grammar is that there are numeral classifiers as well as
noun classifiers which co-occur along with plural marking. I leave this for future research.
44
if the plural resides in a position other than the head of the Number/Classifier
phrase. Another possibility would be to posit two separate functional phrases, NumP
and ClassifierP, as argued for Persian by Gebhardt (2009).
In addition, there are a variety of languages in which plural marking is somewhat
freely applied to mass nouns, such as Korean (Kwon and Zribi-Hertz, 2004), Lillooet
Salish, (Davis and Matthewson, 1999), Innu-aimun (Gillon, in prep.) and Ojibwe
(Mathieu, submitted). And, there are languages in which plural morphology can
have double exponence, such as Amharic (Kramer, 2009), Somali (Lecarme, 2002)
and Arabic (Zabbal, 2002). These cases support the idea that individuation is a
function that is related to the syntactic representation, rather than something that
is lexically marked for a subset of countable nouns.
2.3.3 Nominal arguments
Closely related to the issue of nominal denotation is the issue of nominal argumenthood. Some languages allow bare nouns as arguments (e.g. Mandarin (Cheng and
Sybesma, 1999)), while others do not (e.g. French, which requires determiners on
nominal arguments).
Chierchia (1998) proposed a semantic parameter that predicts how languages
can vary in terms of what bare nouns denote and if they can appear as arguments.
Chierchia proposes two semantic features, [± arg(ument)] and [± pred(icate)], that
govern the way in which the syntactic category N is mapped onto its LF interpre-
45
tation. There are three mapping possibilities: kinds, properties, or mixed (with
features of both kinds and properties). In a [+arg] [-pred] language, such as Chinese and Japanese, bare nouns are mapped onto kinds, which are functions from
worlds to pluralities (type < e >). This language type will display three major morphosyntactic properties that follow from the settings of the two semantic features:
1) They allow bare noun to be arguments, 2) They lack plural morphology (since
kinds are the neutralization of the singular/plural distinction) and 3) They have
a generalized classifier system that functions to individuate nouns. On the other
hand, a [-arg] [+pred] language maps bare nouns onto properties. These languages,
such as French and Italian, do not allow bare nominal arguments, but arguments
must combine with a determiner to be morphosyntactically licensed. A final type
of language, [+arg] [+pred], is mixed, and maps bare arguments to kinds for mass
nouns and bare plurals and to properties for count nouns. This explains why in English count nouns require determiners but mass nouns and bare plurals are licensed
without determiners.
We have enough facts already about Yucatec Maya already to predict that it
should be a [+arg] [-pred] language in Chierchia’s theory. Yucatec would be expected
to be of the same type as Chinese and Japanese because it is a language that has
obligatory numeral classifiers. There is however, one glaring problem: Yucatec
allows classifiers to co-occur with plural morphology, even within the same phrase.
Chierchia’s proposal has been convincingly argued elsewhere to be far too rigid
46
(Cheng and Sybesma, 1999; Chung, 2000; Sato, 2008; Gebhardt, 2009, inter alia).
An alternative to Chierchia’s proposal is that the syntax requires nouns to have
some minimal amount of functional structure in order to function as an argument.
Rather than the semantic requirements that Cheirchia proposes, there is a potential
syntactic explanation for the distribution of nominal arguments. Some argue that in
order for nouns to function as arguments, there has to be some content in D or some
movement to D (Szabolcsi, 1987; Stowell, 1989; Longobardi, 1994; Progovac, 1998,
inter alia). There are arguments that nominal arguments can be DPs or NumPs, e.g.
in Mandarin (Li, 1998). Sato (2008) proposes a universal nominal morphosyntactic
hierarchy, shown in (29) in which languages vary according to how much functional
structure they require of their nominal arguments, based on previous proposals by
Grimshaw (1990, 2005), Massam (2001), Guilfoyle and Noonan (1992), and Vainikka
(1993/1994). His proposal also varies as to what number values a language has
available in Num: singular and plural or neutral and plural.
(29) Universal
nominal
morphosyntactic
hierarchy
(from
Sato
(2008))
47
Sato argues that English has three possible sets of number values, singular, plural
and neutral, and requires nominal arguments to have a QP or DP. Indonesian and
Javanese, in contrast, have only the number values neutral and plural, and they only
require nominal arguments to be NumPs. These parameters, he argues, explain the
differences in nominal denotation and nominal arguments across these languages.
This is a promising proposal, attributing differences in nominal denotation and
nominal argumenthood to morphosyntactic, rather than semantic, parameters, but
it still faces empirical problems when more cross-linguistic data are considered.
Sato’s proposal, like those of Chierchia (1998) and Borer (2005) predicts that number marking and classifiers are mutually exclusive categories. Sato states: “The
individuation function encoded by the singular value of the {singular, plural} set
has the same function as that encoded by the classifier. Under the theory that
semantic composition is computed in the bottom up fashion in a strictly local manner, the projection of the NumP with the relevant values makes the projection of
the dominating ClP redundant.” (Sato, 2008, 284). Sato’s proposal is on the right
track, I believe, in postulating a morphosyntactic parameter and also in assuming
a feature valuation relation between the Num head and its complement n. In the
next section, I discuss the feature representation and valuation mechanism that I
assume.
Another question related to number marking concerns the details of feature specification. Some languages appear to have a singular/plural distinction, like English
48
and Spanish, while other have a general/plural distinction, like Yucatec Maya and
Indonesian. General number can be described as a lack of specification for number,
and it is cross-linguistically common (Corbett, 2000). In a language with general
number, like Yucatec, a noun which is not marked with plural morphology can still
be interpreted as referring to a plurality. The interpretation of general number
and the optionality of plural marking in languages with general number seems to
suggest that when the plural marker is not present, the noun phrase is unspecified
for number. That is to say, when the plural morpheme is present, some morphosemantic feature is present, but when the plural morpheme is absent, the contrast
does not indicate the presence of a singular-denoting feature, such as a [+singular]
or [−plural] feature. There is even cross-linguistic psycholinguistic evidence to suggest that there is no [+singular or [−plural] feature present , even in languages with
a singular/plural distinction, while there is a [plural] feature present in plural noun
phrases. Number agreement attraction has been shown to take place only when a
local distractor noun is plural and not singular (Bock and Miller, 1991; Bock and
Eberhard, 1993; Eberhard, 1997; Fayol et al., 1994; Vigliocco et al., 1996a). Berent
et al. (2005) showed that speakers of Hebrew were susceptible to a Stroop-like effect
regarding morpho-semantic number features. When participants had to say how
many strings (of letters) were on screen, they took longer to indicate that there
was just one string when it had plural morphology, but they did not take longer
to indicate that there were two strings when neither string had plural morphol-
49
ogy. These findings are consistent with Nevins’ (2011) work building on Jakobson’s
(1941) proposal that [−plural] is marked with respect to singular in English based
on the observation that there are fewer gender distinctions in the plural compared
to the singular.5
These findings suggest that even for speakers of English and Hebrew, for whom
number agreement is obligatory, there may not be a singular or [−plural] feature
present in singular noun phrases. These findings are quite compatible with the theory of person and number features presented by Harley and Ritter (2002). Harley
and Ritter (2002) propose that person and number features are arranged hierarchically. The diagram in (30) shows that the presence of the feature [group], which
triggers insertion of a plural form, is dependent on the presence of a feature [indiv],
which implies individuation of the nominal referent. Notice that there is no singular
feature which alternates with the plural [group] feature. A singular noun phrase
is not as highly specified as a noun phrase with a plural feature. But, there is still
a feature which implies that the noun phrase, though under-specified for number, is
individuated into countable entities.
5
Thanks to Heidi Harley for this discussion.
50
(30) Person/number feature geometry (adapted from Harley and Ritter (2002))
If we adopt this system of number features, the result is a simpler and more
economical representation than assuming three distinct features (e.g. singular, plural and neutral). General number and singular number are both the result of the
presence of the [indiv] feature, while plural number is the result of [indiv]–[group].
This analysis is especially appealing since there is growing psycholinguistic evidence
which brings into question the psychological reality of a morpho-syntactic feature
marking singular nouns. These observations are supported by other research on the
status of the singular as unmarked with respect to the plural, both in morphosyntax
and semantics (e.g. Sauerland et al. (2005)).
Now that I have discussed a few major theoretical issues related to the analysis
of plural marking, I will move on to the description of plural marking in Yucatec
and the analysis of the nominal plural marker as adjoined to the DP. In this chapter, I examine the distribution and interpretation of noun phrases with the plural
marker -o’ob in Yucatec Maya. I argue that this plural marker in the nominal
51
phrase is adjoined to the Determiner projection, not at the Number Phrase. If this
analysis is on the right track, we can recover the generalization of complementary
distribution between plurals and classifiers as proposed by Borer (2005). We can also
formalize the intuition of Greenberg (1963) and Chierchia (1998) who also assert the
complementarity of plurals and classifiers, at least for plural marking in the familiar
Western/European sense. This means that the complementary distribution of plural
marking and classifiers is essentially syntactic, as argued by (Borer, 2005): plurals
and classifiers may not both reside in NumP. If some plural marking is adjoined to
the DP, however, as is the case in Yucatec Maya, then in such languages, plural
marking and classifiers may co-occur, even within the same phrase.6 I incorporate
this analysis into a formal typology of the syntax of plural marking (Wiltschko,
2008), and I argue that this analysis of Yucatec Maya expands the empirical coverage of Wiltschko (2008) showing distributional and interpretational evidence for
a DP plural. Also, I provide arguments that though the plural morpheme does not
reside in NumP, the language may not necessarily lack that projection.
2.4 Plural marking in Yucatec Maya
In this section, I describe some basic properties of plural marking with the nominal
plural and third person Set A plural marker -o’ob in Yucatec Maya. I show how
6
This analysis leaves open the possibility that a language can have a Classifier Phrase in addition
to a Number Phrase, as Gebhardt (2009) argues for Persian. This is another potential explanation
for the co-occurrence of plurals and classifiers.
52
neither number concord nor agreement (at least for least for intransitive imperfective
verb-initial clauses) is obligatory. I outline the distribution of the plural marker with
respect to other elements of the DP, and I outline the structure of the DP that I
assume for Yucatec Maya. In the following sections, I introduce the syntax of plural
marking (Wiltschko, 2008), which provides a typology of plural marking, which I
adopt. I show that the nominal plural marker in Yucatec Maya is adjoined to the
DP, a language type predicted by the system of (Wiltschko, 2008).
2.4.1 No obligatory agreement
Plural agreement between nominal and verbal elements is not obligatory, at least
not for the predicate-initial sentences presented here (In Chapter 3, I develop a
theory of constituent order and agreement for intransitive imperfective verb-initial
and DP-initial clauses in Yucatec). The sentence in (31) without plural morphology
on the noun or the verb can still be interpreted as referring to a plural argument.
(31) Táan u k’aay le x-ch’úupal-o’
prog a3 sing def fem-girl-d2
‘The girl is singing.’ / ‘The girls are singing.’
The noun phrase can be marked with plural morphology, and there is no requirement for the verb phrase to co-vary in form. The example in (32) shows that the
noun phrase can be plural-marked while the verb phrase is not, at least when the
53
verbal complex is initial.7 A sentence with plural marked on the noun and verb, as
in (33) is grammatical as well.
(32) Táan u k’aay le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-o’
prog a3 sing def fem-girl-pl-d2
‘The girls are singing.’
(33) Táan u k’aay-o’ob le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-o’
prog a3 sing
def fem-girl-pl-d2
‘The girls are singing.’
A sentence with a plural-marked verb but no plural marking on the noun is
grammatical as well, as in (34).8
(34) Táan u k’aay-o’ob le x-ch’úupal-o’
prog a3 sing
def fem-girl-pl-d2
‘The girls are singing.’
Similarly, number concord within the noun phrase is not obligatory in Yucatec.
The example in (35) shows that the prenominal adjective is not in a plural form,
while the noun is.
(35) le ki’ichpam x-ch’úupal-o’ob
def pretty
fem-girl-pl
‘the pretty girls’
7
In Chapter 3 I examine number agreement and constituent order. Agreement has different
properties in alternative constituent orders. For the moment, I will leave it aside to focus on the
nominal plural.
8
Some speakers report a slightly different interpretation for a sentence that is verb-initial and
has plural marking on the verb but not the noun. The interpretation of (34) has been reported by
one speaker to mean “They are singing with the girl.” I leave this issue for future research.
54
In fact, plural marking on a prenominal adjective is judged by native speakers
as ungrammatical, as shown in (36). When the adjective is in postnominal position,
however, as in (37), it can take the plural marker, a curious fact that I will return
to in Section 2.7.2.
(36) *le ki’ichpam-o’ob x-ch’úupal-o’ob
def pretty-pl
fem-girl-pl
‘the pretty girls’
(37) le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-o’ ki’ichpam-o’ob
def fem-girl-pl-d2
pretty-pl
‘the pretty girls’
In the next section, I present a description of the elements in the DP in Yucatec
Maya in order to argue for an analysis of the nominal plural marker as adjoined to
the Determiner projection. In Chapter 3, I present a proposal for the syntax of the
plural marker in the verbal domain along with an analysis of number agreement and
constituent order in Yucatec.
2.4.2 The distribution of the nominal plural marker
In this section, I examine the distribution of the plural marker with respect to other
elements of the noun phrase. Here, I describe the co-occurrence of the plural marker
with the determiner. Then, I examine the co-occurrence of the plural marker with
the phrase-final particles and classifiers.
55
2.4.3 Determiner
The plural marker in Yucatec Maya can co-occur with the definite determiner, as in
example (38), and the definite determiner can occur without the plural, as in (39).
Likewise, the plural marker can occur without the determiner as in (40) and (41).
(38) le x-ch’úupal-o’ob
def fem-girl-pl
‘the girls’
(39) le x-ch’úupal
def fem-girl
‘the girl’ / ‘the girls’
(40) x-ch’úupal-o’ob
fem-girl-pl
‘girls’
(41) kaax-o’ob
chicken-pl
‘chickens’ (Tec-Tun et al., 2003, 184)
When the plural marker occurs without a definite determiner, it results in a
generic or kind interpretation. The bare plural nouns in (42) and (43) refer to the
generic noun “red hammocks” or to a kind “women.”
(42) Juan-e’ k-u-meent-ik chak k’áan-o’ob
Juan-top impf-a3sg-do red hammock-pl
‘As for Juan, he makes red hammocks.’ (Tonhauser, 2009, 4)
(43) Ko’lel-o’ob-e’ ma’ táan u bin-i’
woman-pl-top neg prog a3 go-d4
‘Women don’t go there.’ (Verhoeven, 2007, 105)
56
2.4.4 Phrase-final particles
In addition, the plural marker can be used with the three particles that occur in
the final position of the noun phrase in Yucatec Maya. The phrase-final particles
include the distal deictic marker -o’, glossed as d2 by Yucatec Mayanists, shown in
(44), the proximal deictic marker -a’, glossed as d1 by Yucatec Mayanists, shown in
(45), and the topic marker -e’, shown in (46). The plural marker can co-occur with
any of these phrase-final particles.
(44) le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-o’
def fem-girl-pl-d2
“the girls (there)”
(45) le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-a’
def fem-girl-pl-d1
‘the girls (here)’
(46) le x-ch’úupal-o’ob-e’
def fem-girl-pl-top
‘as for the girls’
2.4.5 Classifiers
In Yucatec Maya, numeral classifiers are obligatory when a noun is enumerated.
There are three very common classifiers: -túul is used to count animate entities,
-p’éel is used for counting inanimate entities, and as a general classifier, and -kúul
is used for counting plants. There are over 250 classifiers documented by Miram
(1983). Some are “massifiers” in the terms of Cheng and Sybesma (1999) which
57
measure out mass nouns. Other classifiers indicate shape, material or time. The
most interesting property for the current analysis is that numeral classifiers can cooccur with plural markers. This phenomenon can be found in elicited examples and
in narratives. These examples were introduced in Section 2.3.2 and are repeated
here in (47), (48) and (49).
(47) ka’a-túul x-ch’úupal-o’ob
two-cl.an fem-girl-pl
‘two girls’
(48) óox-p’éel ja’ab-o’ob
three-cl.in year-pl
‘three years’ (Blair and Vermont-Salas, 1967, 454)
(49) le óox-p’éel
siidra-o’ob-o’
def three-cl.an cider-pl-d2
‘the three ciders’ (Andrade and Máas-Collı́, 1999, 216)
2.5 DPs in Yucatec Maya
2.5.1 The syntax of DP elements in Yucatec Maya
In Sections 2.4.2 through 2.4.5, I examined the co-occurrence of the plural marker
with other elements of the noun phrase, the determiner, phrase-final particles and
numeral classifiers. In this section, I outline a number of assumptions about the the
syntax of these elements.
It has long been argued that determiners head a Determiner phrase, which is the
functional head of a nominal phrase, rather than the nominal, lexical constituent
58
(Abney, 1987; Brame, 1982; Szabolcsi, 1983). At this preliminary juncture, I see
no arguments against the proposal that the definite determiner in Yucatec Maya
is the head of the determiner phrase. I follow Karimi (1989) and Gebhardt (2009)
in assuming that numerals are weak quantificational elements that head a (Weak)
Quantifier phrase in the nominal domain. It has been argued that classifiers head
their own functional projection, a classifier phrase (ClP) (Borer, 2005; Simpson,
2005; Cheng and Sybesma, 1999). For Borer (2005), the NumP and ClP are the
same, but Gebhardt (2009) argues that languages can have both a NumP and a
ClP.
For Yucatec Maya, it is possible that the classifier heads Borer’s Num/ClP.
Currently, I have no evidence to distinguish the two accounts (given the analysis
of nominal number marking argued for in this paper). The numeral classifier is
obligatory with a numeral (except for those borrowed from Spanish). It is also
possible that the classifier is base-generated as the head of the quantifier phrase, with
the numeral in the specifier of the same phrase, since the numeral classifier appears
to be selected by the numeral, though it reflects properties of the noun. If the
classifier heads the Num/ClP, then we might expect it to license bare noun+classifier
arguments without a numeral, but in Yucatec it does not.9 It is also possible that
the classifier head-adjoins to the numeral in QP, or that it heads the QP, with
the numeral in Spec-QP. This analysis has potential, because a classifier is also
9
I thank an anonymous reviewer for this point.
59
obligatory with certain quantificational elements, as shown in (50).
(50) Jay-*(túul)
péek’ yaan waye’ ?
how.many-cl.an dog exist there
‘How many dogs are over there?’
No matter what the best analysis of the syntax of the numeral classifier in
Yucatec is, suffice it to say that if the classifier resides in the Number Phrase domain,
it would support the idea that the plural morpheme resides elsewhere (DP). Even if
the correct analysis of the numeral classifier in Yucatec is that it resides in the QP,
there are other arguments presented throughout this chapter that Yucatec still has
a Number Phrase as a necessary landing site for N-movement (and if the classifier
is in Q, then this is certainly possible).
I argue that the phrase-final deictic particles head the Kase projection, which
dominates the DP (Loebel, 1994; Lagmontagne and Travis, 1986). One piece of
evidence for the phrase-final deictic particles as heads of K in Yucatec is that preverbal nominal phrases must be marked with the phrase-final deictic particle to be
interpreted as arguments. The clause in (51) with the deictic particle is interpreted
as the agent/subject of the clause. When no deictic particle is present, the same
nominal phrase is interpreted as being a noun with a relative clause modifier (52).
(51) Le xi’ipal-o’ k-u
jaant-ik ja’as
def boy-d2 impf-a3 eat-inc banana
‘The boy is eating bananas.’
60
(52) Le xi’ipal k-u
jaant-ik ja’as
def person impf-a3 eat-inc banana
‘the boy who is eating bananas’
Based on these observations about the syntax of the basic elements of the determiner projection in Yucatec Maya, I propose the preliminary structure in (53). In
the following sections, I will argue that the plural marking in the nominal domain
in Yucatec Maya is adjoined to the level of the DP. Thus, in the structure below,
the plural appears in its proposed position. (I use #P to refer to the possibility
that this phrase is a NumP or a ClP, which Borer proposes to be one and the same
phrase, ClP. I leave open the possibility discussed above that the classifier is in QP
with the numeral.)
(53) Structure of Yucatec Maya determiner phrase
In the next section, I present Wiltschko (2008)’s syntactic typology of plural
marking, the basis for my arguments that the nominal plural marker in Yucatec as
61
adjoined to the DP.
2.6 The syntax of plural marking
As we have seen, in many languages, plural morphology has been shown to head
a Number Phrase within the Determiner Phrase domain. This analysis has been
argued to be inadequate to capture the distributional and interpretational facts
of plural marking in other languages (Li, 1999; Ghomeshi, 2003; Wiltschko, 2008;
Gillon, in prep.; Kramer, 2009). Halkomelem, for example, has been argued to
be a language in which plural morphology merges as a syntactic modifier to an
acategorial root (Wiltschko, 2008). Wiltschko (2008) presents evidence that plural
marking is optional and does not trigger agreement, and that it should be considered
a syntactic modifier (i.e. an adjunct). Wiltschko (2008) argues that the fact that
plural morphology in Halkomelem can occur inside of compound nouns and inside of
derivational morphology is evidence that it cannot merge as high as NumP (which
Wiltschko calls #P), but rather that it adjoins to an acategorial
√
root. Wiltschko
(2008) proposes a typology of plural marking in which plural marking can vary
cross-linguistically in how and where the plural is merged. Plural morphology can
be merged either as a head or as a syntactic modifier (an adjunct), summarized in
Section 2.6.1. Also, plural morphology can be merged at various levels of the DP,
including DP, NumP, nP and
√
root, outlined in Section 2.6.2.
62
2.6.1 How plurals merge
The first choice in the parametric variation in the syntax of plural marking concerns
how plurals merge. A plural can merge as the head of a phrase, changing the
syntactic category of the phrase to Number, depicted in (54). In this case, the
merger of the noun and plural marker projects to a Number Phrase, not a noun
Phrase. Other plurals do not have such category-changing potential. They merge
as adjuncts, as in (55). If a plural merges as a modifier to n, for example, it cannot
determine the identity of the label of the resulting constituent. It remains an nP
with an adjoined number constituent (Wiltschko, 2008).
(54) Plural merges as head (adapted from Wiltschko (2008))
(55) Plural merges as modifier (adapted from Wiltschko (2008))
I assume, following Wiltschko (2008), Hornstein and Nunes (2008), and Sato
(2010), that adjuncts are syntactic objects that merge without the ability to change
the category label of the item with which they merge. Hornstein and Nunes (2008)
propose that specifiers and complements require concatenation and labeling, while
adjuncts require only concatenation. A suggestion along these lines was also men-
63
tioned by (Wiltschko, 2008, footnote 13). The variation in the merging of plural
morphology is summarized in (56).
(56) How plurals merge (Wiltschko, 2008)
•Head merge: Number merges with nouns and results in a new syntactic
object which has the same label, Number
•Modifier merge: Number merges with nominals but cannot change the
syntactic label
The idea that a plural can merge as a head or an adjunct in different languages is
reminiscent of the behavior of negation.10 There is evidence that in some languages,
negation instantiates a functional head, while in other languages negation is an
adjunct. Zanuttini (1996, 1997) showed that the negative particle non in Italian
is the head of a functional projection. It behaves like French ne (not pas which
is an adjunct) and other Romance negation in that it cannot occur to the left of
Comp. Additionally, it interferes with clitic movement. In the Piedmontese variety,
however, the negative particle nen behaves like French pas, an adjunct. It does not
interfere with clitic movement, and it occupies the same position as adverbs. Along
similar lines, Hankamer (2011) presents arguments that in infinitival-to clauses in
English, negation is adjoined rather than heading NegP. Thus, if negation can vary
as to whether it heads a functional projection or is an adjunct, it is not alone. Plural
marking appears to be similar in this regard.
10
Thanks to Heidi Harley for mentioning this to me.
64
2.6.2 Where plurals merge
Wiltschko (2008) also proposes that plural morphology can vary cross-linguistically
based on where the plural is merged in the spine of the DP. In the well-established
analyses of Hebrew and Romance, plurals merge at the Number Phrase.
In
Halkomelem, though, Wiltschko argues that plural morphology merges at the level
of the acategorial
√
root. The main evidence for this proposal is that plural mor-
phology in Halkomelem can occur between noun-noun compounds, as shown in (57),
and that reduplicative plural morphology ignores the presence of other derivational
morphology, shown in (58) through (60) (from Wiltschko (2008)).
(57) s-xexp’-ı́:tsel
nom-stripe.pl-back
‘chipmunk (with more than two stripes’ (Wiltschko, 2008, 644) data from
(Galloway, 1980, 63)
(58) p’-eq’
white
‘white’
(59) s-p’-eq’
nom-white
‘white spot on skin’
(60) s-p’-eq’-p’eq’ (*sp’eq’sp’eq’)
nom-white.pl
‘white spots on skin’ (Wiltschko, 2008, 645) data from (Galloway, 1993, 379)
The diagram in 61 below has arrows on the left which indicate the points at
which a plural morpheme could merge within the DP, based on Wiltschko’s (2008)
typology.
65
(61) Where plurals merge (adapted from Wiltschko (2008))
So far, we have outlined evidence that in a number of well known cases the plural
heads the functional #P (Hebrew and Romance). We have also seen that Wiltschko
(2008) analyzes the plural in Halkomelem as a modifier to the root. In Section 2.7, I
outline the evidence that plural morphology in Yucatec Maya merges as a syntactic
modifier at the level of the DP, then in Section 2.8, I examine evidence for languages
that may have plural morphology that merges at other levels of the noun phrase,
such as nP and QP.
2.7 The Yucatec plural as DP-adjoined
2.7.1 Plural is higher than the
√
root
The plural morpheme in Yucatec does not merge with the root. It can only occur
outside of noun-noun compounds, shown in (63), and it cannot inside of the nounnoun compound shown in (62).
(62) le pol-ch’oom-o’ob-o’
def head-village-pl-d2
‘governors’
66
(63) *le pol-o’ob-ch’oom-o’
def head-pl-village-d2
‘governors’
Yucatec Maya is not a language that makes extensive use of derivational morphology. Lois and Vapnarksy (2003) consider roots in Yucatec Maya to be highly
underspecified for lexical category. Intransitive unergative roots require no derivation to be used as nominals. Intransitive unaccusative roots take an inflectional
suffix which is also used with verbs. Transitive roots can undergo noun incorporation, antipassivization or anticausativization to become nominal (Bohnemeyer,
2009b). Antipassivization and anticausativization do not involve concatenative morphology. They involve supra-segmental changes to the root vowel. Thus, there is
some difficulty in showing that plural morphology may not occur inside of derivational morphology. Other nominal morphology, however, may point us in the right
direction (especially if we assume a theory of morphology that does not make a
pre-theoretical distinction between inflectional and derivational morphology, such
as Distributed Morphology).
Nonetheless, there are some examples of nominal derivational morphology which
show that the plural morpheme cannot occur inside of it. The plural morpheme
cannot occur inside of the instrumental suffix in Yucatec, as shown in (64), but when
the plural suffix follows the instrumental suffix, the resulting phrase is grammatical,
as in (65).
67
(64) *x-muk-o’ob-ub
ag-bury-pl-instr
‘shovels’ (Bricker et al., 1998, 365)
(65) x-muk-ub-o’ob
ag-bury-instr-pl
‘shovels’
In fact, the instrumental suffix must appear closer to the root because the vowel
of the suffix undergoes vowel harmony (or more accurately, complete vowel echo),
to match the vowel of the root (contrast (65) above with (66) below).
(66) x-tsaj-ab
ag-fry-instr
‘frying pan’ (Bricker et al., 1998, 365)
In addition, some inalienably possessed nouns require the suffix -el, which I will
gloss ip for “inalienable possession.” The example in (67) shows the ip suffix. The
example in (68) shows that the plural morpheme cannot occur before the inalienable
possession suffix. And, the example in (69) shows that the plural suffix occurring
after the inalienable possession suffix is grammatical.
(67) in b’aak-el
a1 bone-ip
‘my bone’ (Bricker et al., 1998, 359)
(68) *in b’aak-o’ob-el
a1 bone-pl-ip
‘my bones’
68
(69) in b’aak-el-o’ob
a1 bone-ip-pl
‘my bones’
I take these facts as evidence that the plural morpheme occurs higher than
other nominal morphology, such as that which marks inalienable possession and
instrument-hood.
2.7.2 Plural is higher than NumP
In addition to the evidence that the plural -o’ob in Yucatec Maya merges higher
than the
√
root, there is evidence that it merges higher than the Number Phrase as
well. In a coordinated DP, the plural marker can occur after the second noun and
indicate the plurality of the either noun or the whole conjunct, as shown in (70).11
(70) le x-ch’úupal yéetel le ko’olel-o’ob-o’
def fem-girl and def woman-pl-d2
‘the girl(s) and the woman/women’
I will assume the structure in (71), based on cross-linguistic arguments for a
similar structure for coordinated NPs (Progovac, 1997; Munn, 1993), which captures
the long-standing intuition that the coordination of two NPs results in an NP and
the coordination of two PPs results in a PP (Progovac, 1998; Jackendoff, 1977;
Chomsky, 1981; Gadzar et al., 1985; Sag et al., 1985, inter alia).12 If the plural
11
12
I thank an anonymous Lingua reviewer for suggesting this piece of data.
Thanks to Heidi Harley for mentioning this.
69
marker were merged at NumP, then it should not be possible for it to occur on
the highest DP in the coordinate structure and pluralize either, or both of the
preceding nouns. Though it is possible to derive the potential plurality of the first
noun from the fact that nouns which are unmarked for plural are underspecified for
number, in Chapter 4, I present experimental evidence that the plural morpheme is
preferentially adjoined to the highest DP.
(71) Plural adjoined to DP in coordinate DP
I assume throughout that the plural morpheme is right adjoined to the DP,
which is not in line with the antisymmetry assumptions of Kayne (1994). Given
the Mirror Principle (Baker, 1985), the analysis of the plural morpheme as leftadjoined seems rather untenable, even allowing for some additional mechanisms for
the manipulation of morpheme order (Harley, 2010). One piece of distributional
evidence that the plural morpheme may in fact be right-adjoined to the Determiner
projection is that it cannot occur on a pre-nominal adjective, but it can occur on a
post-nominal adjective. The example in (72) is acceptable, but the the examples in
70
(73) with plural marking on a pre-nominal adjective are not, even if plural marking
occurs on the head noun as well as the adjective, as in (73b).
(72) le ki’ichpam x-ch’úupal(-o’ob)
def pretty
fem-girl(-pl)
‘the pretty girls’
(73) a. *le ki’ichpam-o’ob x-ch’úupal
b. *le ki’ichpam-o’ob x-ch’úupal-o’ob
When the adjective is in postnominal position, however, plural marking on the
adjective is possible, as shown in (74) below, whether or not the noun is marked
with the plural morpheme.
(74) le x-ch’úupal(-o’ob) ki’ichpam-o’ob
def fem-girl(-pl)
pretty-pl
‘the pretty girls’
If we assume Kayne (1994)’s analysis of prenominal adjectives as reduced relative
clauses, predicates which are raised to the specifier of CP, then the rightward DPadjoined analysis explains this distribution. The tree in (75) shows that a prenominal
adjective moved from its base position in the complement of T is no longer adjacent
to the plural which is right adjoined to the highest DP. This can explain why the
sentences in (73) and (73b) with plural marking on the prenominal adjective are
ungrammatical, while the sentence in (76) is grammatical. When the adjective
remains in its base generated position, it is linearized adjacent to the DP-adjoined
plural.
71
(75) No plural on prenominal adjective
This can explain why the sentences in (73) and (73b) with plural marking on the
prenominal adjective are ungrammatical, while the sentence in (74), repeated here
in (76), is grammatical. When the adjective is in its base generated position, it is
linearized adjacent to the DP-adjoined plural.
(76) le x-ch’úupal(-o’ob) ki’ichpam-o’ob
def pretty
fem-girl-pl-d2
‘the pretty girls’
On the other hand, in Walloon, a language in which plural morphology occurs in
the Number Phrase (Bernstein, 1991), the plural marker can attach to pre-nominal
adjectives, shown in (77) and (78). The plural marker on the adjective is underlined
(Bernstein, 2001, 556) (data from Remacle 1952 and Morin 1986).13
13
Plurals in Walloon are only used in writing. (Bernstein, 1991).
72
(77) dès vètés-ouh ‘some green doors’
(78) dès nêurs-ouy ‘some black eyes’
There is also some interpretational evidence that the Yucatec plural does not
adjoin to the lexical level, nP. A modifier to a category defining head, such as n, v,
or a, would be expected to modify the the meaning of the respective noun, verb or
adjective (cf. Marantz (1997)). Though the plural Set B suffix -o’ob, homophonous
with the nominal plural marker, can combine with verbs and adjectives, when it
combines with verbs, it does not result in a pluractional event, as shown in (79).
Likewise, when it combines with adjectives, it does not intensify the property of the
adjective, as shown in (80). It functions as agreement to cross-reference a plural
argument.
(79) Táan u yáalkab-o’ob
prog a3 run-pl
‘They are running’ / not: ‘Running repeatedly’
(80) ki’-o’ob
delicious-pl
‘They are delicious’ /not: ‘very delicious’
Now, I turn to the evidence that supports the proposal the the plural morpheme
in Yucatec Maya merges at the level of DP.
73
2.7.3 Evidence for DP adjunction
In this section, I outline additional distributional and interpretational evidence that
lead to the conclusion that the plural morpheme in Yucatec Maya merges at the
level of DP.
Plural outside of agreement morphology
One piece of distributional evidence that the Yucatec plural adjoins high in the Determiner Phrase is that it occurs outside of possessor agreement morphology, shown
in (81). The plural -o’ob which pluralizes the noun suku’un, ‘brother,’ occurs outside
of the obligatory second person plural agreement suffix -e’ex which co-references the
possessor.
(81) Kux
túun a suku’un-e’ex-o’ob?
what.about then a2 elder.brother-b2pl-pl
‘What about your (pl) elder brothers?’
The diagram in (82) shows that the plural has to be adjoined high in order to
derive correct the morpheme order. In addition, the noun must move, potentially
through successive cyclic head movement from
√
through n and up to Num.
74
(82) Plural outside of agreement morphology
This configuration may serve as preliminary evidence that though the nominal
plural marker in Yucatec does not occur in the Number Phrase, this does not mean
that Yucatec lacks a Number Phrase. NumP may be a necessary landing site for
N-movement.
Interpretational effects of DP-adjunction
The proposal that the plural marker is adjoined to the DP raises some questions
about its interpretation. For example, the DP-adjoined plural might be predicted
to result in a “pronominal determiner” reading, as in the sentence “We linguists are
fun” in English.14 In Yucatec, the number-marking plural is homophonous with the
third person Set B plural cross-reference marker. Thus, a bare noun marked with
-o’ob can mean either “They are linguists” or “linguists,” as shown in (83). To the
14
Thanks to Heidi Harley for posing this question.
75
best of my knowledge, the first and second person plural cross-reference markers
only have the predicational reading.
(83) Lingüista-o’ob
linguist-b1.pl
‘They are linguists.’ / ‘linguists’
(84) Lingüista-o’on
linguist-b1.pl
‘We are linguists.’
(85) Yucatan-il-o’on
Yucatan-rel-b1.pl
‘We are from Yucatan.’ (Blair and Vermont-Salas, 1967)
The behavior of the third person plural and nominal plural -o’ob diverge in other
aspects of the grammar as well. The paradigm of emphatic pronouns is constructed
from the combination of a locative preposition ti’ and the Set B cross-reference
marker. The first and second person singular and plural forms obligatorily form
contractions, while the third person plural form cannot contract and requires the
presence of the definite determiner Bohnemeyer (2002), shown in Table 2.1.
We expect these emphatic pronouns to be DPs. The DP-adjoined analysis of
-o’ob suggests that while the first and second person forms are full DPs, the third
person forms lack the referential potential of a full DP. If -o’ob is an adjunct to DP,
it does not have the ability to determine the DP category, and must co-occur with
the definite determiner le, which has this ability.
Another interpretational effect that could be attributed to the plural residing in
the DP is that plural-marked DPs are interpreted as specific. Here is an example
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Table 2.1: Yucatec Maya emphatic pronouns
(adapted from (Bohnemeyer, 2002))
Person Singular
Plural
First
teen >
ti’ + -en
to’on >
ti’ + -o’on
loc + b1
loc + b1pl
Second tech >
ti’ + -ech te’ex >
ti’ + -e’ex
loc + b2
loc + b2pl
Third
∗ti’ >
ti’ + 0
∗to’ob >
ti’ + -o’ob
loc + b3
loc + b3pl
le-ti’
def-loc
le-ti’-o’ob
def-loc-pl
from a Yucatec speaking consultant. If a person goes to school wearing a new pair
of shoes, people might ask him or her the question in (86).
(86) Tumben le xanab-o’ ?
new
def shoe-d2
‘Are those shoes new?’
If, however, a person goes to a shoe store and sees one pair of shoes that look
somewhat old on a rack with a bunch of other shoes that look shiny and new, they
might ask the question in (87).
(87) Tumben le xanab-o’ob-o’ ?
new
def shoe-pl-d2
‘Are those shoes new?’
The sentence in (87) with plural marking applies to a situation in which a person
is referring to one specific pair of shoes among a larger set of shoes that exists
77
throughout the shoe store. This conclusion is similar to the one made by Ghomeshi
(2003) for Persian, but there are some issues with her analysis, primarily, the fact
that a definite interpretation possible, even without the plural morpheme present
(Karimi, pc.). I return to a more in-depth discussion of this in Section 2.8.2. My
analysis is based on a wealth of distributional data, as well as experimental data
(which will be presented in Chapter 5), and not just interpretational effects, which
are not always tied to a particular syntactic position (see Coppock and Weschler (to
appear) and Gillon and Armoskaite (2011) for arguments that DP does not imply
definiteness).
2.8 Revisiting the typology
I have presented distributional and interpretational evidence that the plural marker
in Yucatec is a modificational adjunct to the DP. Now, I review the typology of plural
marking and present some arguments from other languages to show the potential
of additional types in the syntax of plural marking. I focus on nP plurals and QP
plurals.
2.8.1 nP plurals
Some recent proposals provide evidence for plurals that merge at the level of nP
as well. Acquaviva (2008) presents an analysis of some plurals occurring in the nP.
Here, I will show examples of nP languages from a some recent literature. Gillon
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(in prep.) argues for a split analysis of plurals in Innu-aimun. One plural has the
same semantics as the English plural and merges at NumP. The other has different
semantics, similar to lexical plurals (Acquaviva, 2008; Alexiadou, 2010) and merges
at nP. Gillon proposes that these two loci of merger account for why plural mass
nouns have two interpretations in Innu-aimun. One plural implies individuation,
‘bottles of water,’ while the other does not, ‘lots of water,’ as shown in (88) (Gillon
notes that this is similar to the interpretation of mass plurals in Greek (Alexiadou,
2010)). Likewise, count nouns can get mass interpretations, as in ‘tea‘ from ‘leafplural’ in (89).
(88) nipˆiaa
water.pl
‘bottles of water’ / ‘lots of water’ (Gillon, in prep., 8)
(89) nˆipˆish-a
leaf-inan.pl
‘tea’ / ‘cups of tea’ (Gillon, in prep., 15)
In a similarly split analysis of plural marking in Amharic, Kramer (2009) argues
that irregular plurals in Amharic merge at nP. They give rise to special interpretations, like lexical plurals. (She bases her analysis on arguments by Arad (2003; 2005)
and Marantz (2001; 1997) that word formation at the level of the root in combination with a category-defining head such as nP is more susceptible to phonological,
and in this case, semantic irregularities). Kramer’s main piece of distributional evidence comes from the phenomenon of double pluralization, which she reports is
79
common in Amharic, as in (90) which has an irregular plural and a regular plural
co-occurring.
(90) k’al-at-otsts
word-irreg.pl-reg.pl
‘words’
Kramer argues that the irregular plural must combine with n, while the regular
plural must combine with Num, since the opposite order of plural morphemes is
ungrammatical, shown in (91).
(91) *k’al-otsts-at
word-reg.pl-irreg.pl
‘words’
These proposals present evidence for plural marking which occurs at the nP, in
addition to NumP. In the next section, I review evidence for QP, quantificational,
plurals.
2.8.2 QP plurals
In this section, I review some proposals for QP plurals and show that Yucatec does
not share the same properties as a language with the plural in the QP. Park (2008)
argues that the plural marker -tul in Korean requires a distributive reading. The
sentences in (92) and (93) show that the plural marker -tul is optional in collective
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predicates with a distributive sub-entailment. When -tul is present, however, as in
(93) the reading is that all of the professors participate.
(92) Swuhakkwa
kyoswu-ka
kyosil-ey
moyessta
Math-department professor-nom classroom-loc gather-pst
‘Professors of a math department gathered in the classroom.’ (Park, 2008)
(data from Kwak (2003))
(93) Swuhak-kwa
kyoswu-tul-i
kyosil-ey
moyessta
Math-department professor-tul-nom classroom-loc gather-pst
‘(All) The professors of a math department gathered in the classroom.’ (Park,
2008) (data from Kwak (2003))
The examples in (94) and (95) show that in truly collective predicates (with no
distributive sub-entailment), the plural marker -tul is infelicitous.
(94) Swuhak-kwa-nun
kyoswu-ka
ney myeng-ita
Math-department-top professor-nom four cl-cpl.dc
‘The professors of a math department are a group of four.’
(95) ??Swuhak-kwa-nun
kyoswu-tul-i
ney myeng-ita
Math-department-top professor-tul-nom four cl-cpl.dc
‘The professors of a math department are a group of four.’
The plural marker in Korean could, based on this interpretational evidence, be
a candidate for a plural that adjoins to QP, but more conclusive evidence for this
possibility is left for further studies. The plural in Yucatec Maya does not adjoin
to the QP. It does not result in the distributive sub-entailment reading. Unlike
in Korean, in Yucatec, the plural marker -o’ob is felicitous with truly collective
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predicates, as in the example in (96). The plural is also felicitous with predicates
which have distributive sub-entailments, as in (97).15
(96) Le xoknal-o’ob ti’
maaya-o’ ya’ab-o’ob
def student-pl prep Maya-d2 many-b3pl
‘The students of Maya are many.’
(97) In
kiik-o’ob-e’ chowak-tak u pool-o’ob
a1sg sister-pl-top long-adj.pl a3 hair-pl
‘My sisters have long hair.’
Ghomeshi (2003) argues for an analysis of the plural marker -ha in Persian as
merging at the level of the DP or QP. Her main argument is that the presence
of the plural marker triggers definiteness effects. The example in (98) shows the
indefinite reading, while the example in (99) shows a definite interpretation with
plural marking.
(98) ketab xund-æm.
book read.pst-ind
‘I read books.’
(99) ketab-ha-*(ro) xund-æm.
book-pl-om read.pst-ind
‘I read the books.’
Though the example in (99) also requires the object marker -ro, the example in
(100) with a plural subject does not, and plural marking still results in a definite
interpretation, according to Ghomeshi.
15
Thanks to Andy Barss for originally posing this question to me.
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(100) bæčče-ha gerye=kærd-ænd.
child-pl cry=do.pst-3pl
‘The children cried.’ (Ghomeshi, 2003, 57)
There are a number of problems with these arguments, however. The definite
interpretation is still possible without the plural marker, as shown in (101). Thus, it
is not the plural marker, per se, which is responsible for the definite interpretation.
(101) ketab-ro xund-æm.
book-om read.pst-ind
‘I read the books.’ (Karimi, pc.)
Also, there is evidence that the interpretation of bare plurals is quite different for
subjects and objects, as shown by Carlson (1977) and Diesing (1992). Ghomeshi’s
examples in (99) and (100) compare an object and a subject: It could be the case that
the different placement of the plural in (99) and (100) accounts for the definiteness
effects she observes.16 Another puzzling aspect of the proposal that the plural
marker resides in the D/QP in Persian is that number agreement is obligatory in
the language (assuming that NumP is required for number agreement17 (but see
(Wiltschko, 2009) for a proposal in which it is not).
The tree in (102) summarizes the cross-linguistic evidence reviewed here in the
typology of the syntax of plural marking.
16
17
Thanks to Heidi Harley for making this point.
Thanks to Simin Karimi for pointing this out to me, along with the example in (101).
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(102) Language types that show where plurals can merge
This tree, however, does not show the full predictions of the typology. Leaving
aside the QP, there should be eight different language types predicted: 1) plural
adjoined to DP, 2) plural head of DP, 3) plural adjoined to NumP, 4) plural head
of NumP, 5) plural adjoined to nP, 6) plural head of nP, 7) plural adjoined to
and 8) plural head of
√
P
√
P. If we include the possibility of QP plurals, there would
be ten logically possible language types.18
2.9 Conclusions
In this chapter, I have presented distributional and interpretational evidence that
the nominal plural marker in Yucatec Maya is adjoined to the DP. Plural marking is not necessary for a noun phrase to be interpreted as referring to a plurality.
Plural marking cannot occur on a prenominal adjective. Plural marking can occur
in the final position of a conjoined noun phrase. Plural marking occurs outside of
18
Thanks to Heidi Harley for this discussion. It remains to be seen if all of these types are
attested.
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agreement morphology. Additionally, plural marking results in a specific interpretation. This analysis represents an important piece of evidence for DP plurals and
represents an expansion of the empirical coverage of the syntactic typology of plural marking (Wiltschko, 2008). In the next chapter, I present an analysis of plural
marking and constituent order in the clausal domain in Yucatec Maya. In the two
remaining chapters, I present a number of experiments which test the predictions of
the DP-adjoined nominal plural hypothesis of this chapter as well as the hypothesis
presented in the following chapter.
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CHAPTER 3
C-TO-T FEATURE INHERITANCE AND NUMBER AGREEMENT
3.1 Introduction
In this chapter, I examine the properties of plural marking in the verbal domain
focusing on verb-initial and DP-initial intransitive clauses in the imperfective aspects in Yucatec Maya. In Chapter 2, I argued that the plural morpheme -o’ob is
adjoined to the DP. In this chapter, I examine the phenomenon of plural marking
in the verbal complex with the third person plural cross reference marker -o’ob, homophonous with the nominal plural marker -o’ob examined in Chapter 2. I examine
the properties of third person plural agreement and the relationship to constituent
order in a Minimalist framework.
First, I argue that in Yucatec, the Aspect-Mood (AM) particle, which precedes
the lexical verb and cross-reference markers in the verbal core, is the main predicate
of the clause, following Bricker (1981), Lehmann (1993), Bohnemeyer (2002), and
Tonhauser (2009). The AM marker resides in T0 , but this T0 is φ-deficient. Due to
its φ-deficiency, it takes a nominalized clausal complement, in which agreement with
person- and number-beraing cross-reference markers is carried out phrase-internally.
Thus, for verb-initial clauses in Yucatec Maya, there is no Agree operation for num-
86
ber features between a probe on T0 and a goal in its c-command domain, i.e. the
φ-feature-bearing pronominal cross-reference markers affixed to the lexical verb.
For DP-initial clauses with plural morphology, the DP moves to the CP domain,
triggered by a topic or focus feature. The uninterpretable number feature on C0 is
then inherited by T0 and probes for a matching valued number feature in its domain
(Chomsky, 2001). This proposal predicts that number agreement is asymmetric in
Yucatec Maya. It is mediated by Agree for number in subject-initial clauses but not
for verb-initial clauses, due to the presence or absence of C0 which, as a phase, is
responsible for introducing uninterpretable features of the clause (Chomsky, 2007,
2008).
In Section 3.2, I present the arguments that in Yucatec, the Aspect-Mood particle is the main predicate of the clause, and it selects a nominalized clausal complement. In Section 3.3, I discuss movement phenomena, such as topic, focus and
wh-movement in Yucatec Maya. In Section 3.4. I discuss how agreement is carried out in verb-initial and subject-initial clauses. Then, in Chapter 5, I present
the results of an experiment which tests the predictions of the C-to-T inheritance
hypothesis for clauses with a fronted full DP in Yucatec Maya.
3.2 Predication and complementation
The order of constituents for a basic intransitive clause in the imperfective aspect is
shown in (103) below. It consists of the progressive aspect-mood (AM) marker táan,
87
followed by the third person Set A cross reference marker u, followed by the lexical
verb áalkab, followed by the second part of the discontinuous Set A cross reference
morpheme -o’ob (which is homophonous with the Set B third person plural cross
reference marker and the nominal plural marker). The basic order of constituents
below can be summarized as: AM-CRA -V-CRB .
(103) Táan u yáalkab-o’ob
prog a3 run-b3.pl
‘They are running.’
Yucatec Maya is argued to be a predicate-initial language (Bricker, 1981;
Lehmann, 1993; Bohnemeyer, 2002; Tonhauser, 2009). And, Yucatec is typically
assumed to be a canonically VOS language with SVO sentences being quite common due to fronting of the agent argument. In fact, some consider Yucatec to be
a canonically SVO language (in addition to VOS) due to the frequency of SVO
sentences Durbin and Ojeda (1978); Hofling (1984); Gutierrez-Bravo and Monforte
(2009). VOS order, along with VSO order is also possible, and Skopeteas and Verhoeven (2005) show that there is a lot of variation in the interpretation of VOS versus
VSO sentences, based on experimental translation tasks with speakers of Yucatec.
In their study, postverbal DPs were variably interpreted as agents or patients, and
these sentences were occasionally interpreted as having a single argument (with a
modifier). Given these observations, I will assume that post-verbal full DPs do not
occupy argument positions, but rather they are adjoined to the vP or TP (Jelinek,
88
1984; Baker, 1996). The exact position of postverbal adjoined full DPs will not
make a difference for the analysis presented here. Baker (1996) outlines a number of
possibilities for the positions of adjoined full DPs. The most important observation
for the analysis presented in this chapter is that full DPs are commonly fronted to
preverbal positions, as I will discuss in Section 3.3. In the remainder of this section,
I will describe the basics of predicates and arguments in Yucatec.
In Yucatec Maya, I assume that the main predicate of the clause is the aspect
or mood (AM) marker, following a number of scholars of Yucatec Maya (Bricker,
1981; Lehmann, 1993; Bohnemeyer, 2002; Tonhauser, 2009). The AM marker always
precedes the cross-reference markers and the main verb. I assume that the aspectmood marker takes as its argument a nominalized clause, just as has been shown
for Chol (Coon, 2010). The Yucatec sentence in (104) shows this configuration for
Yucatec. The AM marker táan takes the nominal clausal complement u-yáalkabo’ob.1 The AM marker as the main predicate with a nominalized clausal complement
might be more literally translated as “Their running is happening” rather than
“They are running.”
(104) [P red Táan [Comp u yáalkab-o’ob ] ]
prog
a3 run-b3.pl
‘They are running.’ Lit. Their running is happening
1
I will only treat intransitive clauses in the imperfective aspects in this chapter. An analysis
of agreement for objects in transitive clauses and an analysis of perfective aspects is beyond the
scope of this chapter.
89
In fact, Bohnemeyer (2002) includes literal translations of such clauses in Yucatec. In the example in (105) below, he provides the literal translation “Your
waking me up again is achieved” for the terminative AM main predicate ts’o’ok and
nominalized clausal complement a-ka’a-ah-s-ik-en.
(105) Ts’o’ok a ka’a-ah-s-ik-en
term a2 rep-wake.up-caus-inc-b1
‘You woke me up again.’ Lit. Your waking me up again is achieved. (Bohnemeyer, 2002, 82)
It is possible that the aspect-mood marker takes a third person singular set B
marker as its subject, as shown in (106). The third person singular set B marker
is phonologically null. For all other set B markers, which are not phonologically
null, the set B marker can function as the argument of a copular predication, as in
the question in (107) with a second person singular set B marker and the copular
sentence in (108) with the first person singular set B marker.
(106) Táan-∅
a wil-ik-o’ob
prog-b3.sg a2 see-inc-b3.pl
‘You see them.’ Lit. Your seeing them is happening.
(107) Máax-ech
who-b2.sg
‘Who are you?’ (Tonhauser 2009: 12, from Andrade and Maas Colli 1999: 62)
(108) Xoknal-en
student-b1.sg
‘I am a student.’
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Bricker presents evidence from older forms of Yucatec Maya that the aspectmood markers were formerly fully inflected verb forms. The example in (109),
which is from a letter written by indigenous Maya officials of Chunhuhub in 1784,
shows that the verbal predicate ts’ok was inflected for aspect and status, just like
main verbs in modern Yucatec.
(109) K-u-ts’ok-ol
k-meyah
trapich
impf.a3-finish-inc a1.pl-work grinding.machine
‘We finish working on the grinding machine.’ (Bricker, 1981, 85)
The verb ts’ok “finish” is inflected with the imperfective aspect marker k, the
third person singular set A marker -u and an incompletive status marker -ol. The
idea is that this form, presumably through attenuation, became grammaticalized as
what Bohnemeyer calls the terminative aspect marker ts’o’ok shown in (110) below,
in which ts’o’ok no longer carries aspect and status inflection but functions as an
aspectual marker.
(110) Ts’o’ok a ka’a-ah-s-ik-en
term a2 rep-wake.up-caus-inc-b1
‘You woke me up again.’ Lit. Your waking me up again is achieved. (Bohnemeyer, 2002, 82)
According to Bohnemeyer (2002), an argument that the preverbal aspect-mood
marker ts’o’ok is the main predicate of the clause is that it determines the form of
the status suffix -ah in the embedded main verb. For example, the sentence in (111)
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with the perfective aspect marker t takes the completive status suffix -ah, like the
terminative AM marker in the example in (110) above. With an imperfective aspect
marker, however, like k in (112), the incompletive status suffix -ik is used.
(111) t-u
hats’-ah-en
prv-a3 hit-cmp-b1sg
‘He hit me.’
(112) k-u
hats’-ik-en
impf-a3 hit-inc-b1sg
‘He hits me.’ (Bohnemeyer, 2004, 76)
Essentially, what I am arguing is that the verbal core in Yucatec Maya is an
event nominalization. If this is correct, then the embedded nominalization with the
main verb can be analyzed as having a structure parallel to the structure of an event
nominalization in English. The nominalized clause in English John’s criticizing the
book in (113) has the same structure as the Yucatec clause a wilik-e’ex-o’ob ‘Your
seeing them’ in (114)2 .
(113) It is happening, John’s criticizing the book.
(114) Táan-∅
a wil-ik-e’ex-o’ob
prog-b3.sg a2 see-inc-b3.pl
‘It is happening, your (plural) seeing them.’
2
The morpheme -textito’ob here is the third person plural Set B cross-reference marker. It is
homophonous with the nominal plural marker, but has a different function here
92
The parallel structures that I assume, following the structure of nominalized
clauses in English outlined in Harley (2006) are diagrammed in (115). In English,
the lower DP in Spec-vP, which is co-indexed with the DP John’s in Spec-DP, is
empty, but in Yucatec, this lower DP in Spec-vP is realized by an overt morpheme
-e’ex which co-refers to the subject of the nominalized clause.
(115) Parallel structure of event nominalizations in English and Yucatec
For Yucatec Maya nominalized clauses, I assume that the genitive subject resides
in the specifier of the DP. Evidence for this proposal is that it precedes the adverbial
modifier ka’a in (110) repeated in (116) below with the adverbial modifier in boldfaced type.
(116) Ts’o’ok a ka’a-ah-s-ik-en
term a2 rep-wake.up-caus-inc-b1
‘You woke me up again.’ Lit. Your waking me up again is achieved. (Bohnemeyer, 2002, 82)
93
There are another possible explanation, other than base generation, for the position of the genitive subject in Spec-DP. It is possible that it undergoes overt movement from its base-generated position in the specifier of vP (where it originates
along with its counterpart in the discontinuous morpheme that cross-references a
second person plural argument a...-e’ex ). The observation that the AM marker
selects for the form of the status suffix supports the analysis of the Set A marker
in the specifier of nP (and that there is no DP between the T (or Aspect) phrase
and the nP which it selects, given that selection is a maximally local operation.3
Another possibility is that the relationship between the AM marker and the status
suffix is an agreement relationship, in which case, the non-local selection would not
be problematic. I leave the issue for future research.
In the English nominalization, the root
√
critic moves via successive cyclic head
movement, picking up verbalizing and nominalizing morphology -ize and -ing along
the way. Similarly, in Yucatec, the root
√
(w)il moves via successive cyclic head
movement to the categorizing head v0 , then to the nominalizing head n0 , picking
up the status suffix -ik along the way. The suffix -ik is an incompletive status
suffix, which is determined by the aspect-mood marker (Bohnemeyer, 2002). This
marker could be a verbalizing head, and the nominalizing head would then have null
morphology, or the opposite could be true. The exact function of the status suffix
in the nominalized clause is quite curious (see Radkevich (2011) for a discussion)
3
I think Heidi Harley for this discussion.
94
but beyond the scope of this chapter.
I take these observations as evidence that the aspect marker is the main predicate
which selects a nominal complement with a genitive subject. The embedded nominalization analysis may be expected, given that other Mayan languages show very
similar properties. Coon (2010) argues that in Chol, a Tseltalan Mayan language
spoken in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, the progressive and imperfective
aspects markers are the main predicates of the clause, and they select a nominalized embedded clause. Coon argues that the perfective aspect marker is not a main
predicate, and in the perfective sentences are monoclausal and that this difference
explains the split ergative pattern of the language. And, Larsen and Norman (1979)
and Bricker (1981) similarly argue that embedding of a nominalized clause is potential explanation for the ergative split in Yucatec Maya.
Now that I have provided arguments that in Yucatec Maya the aspect-mood
marker is the main predicate which takes a nominalized clausal complement, I turn
to a discussion of the syntax of pre-verbal DPs.
3.3 Movement
There are many arguments for Yucatec Maya, as well as for other Mayan languages,
that full DPs which occur pre-verbally are focused or topicalized (England, 1991;
Aissen, 1992). For Yucatec, this claim has been made, and is generally accepted
(Durbin and Ojeda, 1978; Bricker, 1979; Hofling, 1984; Bohnemeyer, 2009a; Ton-
95
hauser, 2009; Norcliffe, 2009; Gutierrez-Bravo and Monforte, 2009). Though there
is debate as to which surface order is basic or underlying, VOS or SVO, there is
little disagreement that focus and topic are relevant triggers for the alternative constituent orders. Bohnemeyer (2009a) argues that fronted full nominal phrase are
not arguments of the main predicate, the aspect-mood marker. He argues that the
full DP moves to a topicalized or focused position (or construction). Bohnemeyer
argues that full noun phrases occur pre-verbally in order to avoid a violation of the
prominence hierarchy, in (117).
(117) topicality > definiteness > humanness > animacy
In addition, there is evidence for conceptual factors motivating pre-verbal noun
phrase positions. For example, in a video description experiment, Butler et al.
(2010) found that human patient arguments were more likely to be fronted when
the agent arguments were animals and even more so when agent arguments were
inanimate objects. They also found definite DPs occurred more frequently in preverbal positions compared to indefinite DPs.
Tonhauser (2009) analyzes the syntax and semantics of focus constructions in
Yucatec Maya to conclude that when full noun phrases are post-verbal, the aspectmood marker is the main predicate of the clause and that there is a dedicated focus
position which precedes the verbal core. Gutierrez-Bravo and Monforte (2009) argue
that an EPP requirement is what triggers pre-verbal full noun phrases and explains
the frequency of SVO sentences in the language. The particular motivation for the
96
movement of pre-verbal noun phrases is not central to this analysis, nor is the exact
landing site of these preverbal full DPs, so I will place preverbal full DPs in the
Specifier position of the CP, though if one were to assume that the fronted full
DPs move to the Focus Phrase or Topic Phrase (cf. Rizzi (1997)), it would not be
incompatible with the analysis presented here.
The important generalization for this analysis is that a pre-verbal full noun
phrase is not the subject of the aspect-mood main predicate. I assume that the
aspect-mood marker heads TP but T0 is deficient. However, it is also possible that
this marker heads an aspectual phrase, AspP, which Hale (2002) argues is agreedeficient. This is certainly compatible with my hypothesis here. The defective TP
(or AspP) must select a nominal clause argument as shown in (118).
(118) [T P Táan [DP uy áalkab le xi’ipal ] ]
prog
a3 run
def boy
‘The boy is running.’ Lit. The boy’s running is happening.
In a Yucatec sentence with a fronted full DP, this means that the landing site of
the DP is not Spec-TP, a position which normally hosts subjects. I assume, instead,
that the full DP lands somewhere in the CP domain. This is consistent with the
analysis of fronted constituents in Yucatec as topicalized or focused. Assuming an
expanded left periphery (Rizzi, 1997), it is possible that the landing site of a fronted
DP is Spec-FocusP or Spec-TopicP. At this point, I will use CP to refer to the
landing site for simplicity. I leave the exact issue for further research.
97
Fronted full DPs differ from postverbal full DPs in that they must be morphologically marked to be interpreted as co-referential with an argument of the nominalized
clause. Fronted full DPs can be marked with the topic marker -e’ or the distal or
proximate decitic markers -o’ and -a’, respectively. In the sentence in (119), the
fronted DP is marked with the distal deictic particle and occurs in pre-verbal position. It is interpreted as co-referential with the subject of the event of seeing.
(119) [CP Le xi’ipal-o’ [T P táan [DP u
yil-ik le p’éek’-o’ ] ] ]
def boy-d2
prog
a3.sg see-inc def dog-d2
‘The boy sees the dog.’ Lit. The boy, his seeing of the dog is happening.
When a fronted DP does not have a morphological topic marker or deictic particle, it cannot be interpreted as co-referential with an argument of the nominalized
clause. I refer to what is called by Mayanists the Agent-focus construction or voice.
In Yucatec, when the focused DP does not have a topic marker or deictic particle, it
interpreted as being a noun with a relative clause modifier, rather than co-referential
with an argument of the nominalized clause. The example in (120) shows a sentence
with the DP ‘the boy’ taking the distal deictic particle and co-referential with the
agent argument of the kissing event. If no distal deictic particle is present on the
fronted full DP, however, as in example (121), the DP ‘the boy’ is interpreted as
being in the Agent Focus form. It is interpreted as a DP with a relative clause
modifier ‘The boy who...’ In Yucatec, the Agent-focus construction is indicated
by optionally dropping the TAM and person marker. When the TAM and person
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marker k-u is present, as in (121), the resulting sentence is ambiguous between that
of subject and object extraction.
(120) Le chan xi’ipal-o’ k-u-ts’uts’-ik
le ko’olel-o’
def small boy-d2 impf-a3-kiss-inc def woman-d2
‘The little boy is kissing the woman’
(121) Le chan xi’ipal k-u-ts’uts’-ik
le ko’olel-o’
def small boy impf-a3-kiss-inc def woman-d2
‘The little boy who is kissing the woman’ / ‘The little boy who the woman is
kissing.’ (Norcliffe, 2009, 50)
If, however, the TAM and person marker k-u is dropped, in the Agent Focus
construction, the interpretation is unambiguously that of subject extraction.
(122) Le chan xi’ipal ts’uts’-ik le ko’olel-o’
def small boy kiss-inc def woman-d2
‘The little boy who is kissing the woman’ / not: ‘The little boy who the
woman is kissing.’ (Norcliffe, 2009, 51)
Tonhauser (2009) argues that focused elements are predicates and that there is
a dedicated pre-verbal focus position in the syntax. I don’t take up the issue here of
the exact nature of pre-verbal DPs, whether they are focused or topics, predicates
or arguments, but I argue, along with Tonahuser that there is a preverbal focus
position in the language. I restrict this analysis to DPs that are marked with the
definite determiner and distal deictic particle, which may behave differently from the
focus constructions that Tonhauser discusses, compare (123) and the acceptability
of the possible answer in (124) to that in (125).
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(123) Máax il le x-ch’úup-o’ ?
who see def fem-woman-d2
‘Who saw the woman?’ (Tonhauser, 2009, 5)
(124) Juan il le x-ch’úup-o’
Juan see def fem-woman-d2
‘It was Juan who saw the woman.’ (Tonhauser, 2009, 5)
(125) *Le x-ch’úup-o’
il Jwaan
def fem-woman-d2 see Juan
‘It was the woman who saw Juan’ (Tonhauser, 2009, 15)
It is possible that this means that in Yucatec Maya, the Focus Phrase is lower
than the Topic Phrase. That would certainly be compatible with the expanded
CP proposal of Rizzi (1997), but I don’t provide further discussion of these issues
here. I take these observations for evidence that Yucatec Maya has an expanded left
periphery, which may include CP, FocusP and TopicP. Thus, there are ample landing
sites for pre-verbal noun phrases, which leaves open a number of possibilities.
In Yucatec Maya, there is an overt topic marker -e’ which occurs on topicalized
pre-verbal DPs. In (126) below, Miguel, the topic, is marked with the topic marker
-e’ and is an answer to the question “What is Miguel doing?”
(126) Miguel-e’ k-u
kanáan-t-ik
in chiib-o’ob
Miguel-top impf-a3 take-care.of-appl-inc a1 goat-b3.pl
‘As for Miguel, he takes care of my goats.’ (Tonhauser, 2009, 4)
Another piece of evidence for the phenomenon of preverbal fronting is that Yucatec Maya allows fronting of multiple constituents to pre-verbal positions. The example in (127) shows that the agent/subject Pedro and the patient/object áanalte
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can be fronted in the same clause. Both fronted constituents take the topic marker
-e’.
(127) Áanalte-e’ Pedro-e’ ts’o’ok u xok-ik jun-p’éel jach ma’alob-i’
book-top Pedro-top term a3 read-inc one-cl.in very good-d4
‘Books, Pedro, he just finished reading a very good one.’ (Fanselow and Fery,
to appear, 47)
An additional observation which supports the phenomenon of preverbal fronting
in Yucatec Maya is that wh-movement is obligatory. Compare the question in (128)
with a fronted wh-word to the wh-in-situ question in (129), which is ungrammatical.
(128) Ba’ax k-a
jaant-ik?
what impf.a2 eat-inc
‘What are you eating?’
(129) *K-a
jaant-ik ba’ax?
impf.a2 eat-inc what
‘You are eating what?’
I have shown that there are multiple pre-verbal landing sites which are available
to host focussed and topicalized DPs and which require wh-movement. The goal
of this chapter is to present an analysis of constituent order and number agreement in Yucatec Maya. The structure of so-called verb-initial intransitive clauses in
the imperfective that I have argued for can be summarized in (130). The aspectmood particle is the main predicate, which I assume heads the TP. It selects a
nominalized clause complement which contains the lexical verb and cross reference
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markers. The postverbal full DP is an adjunct along the DP. The structure of socalled subject-initial intransitive clauses in the imperfective that I have argued for
can be summarized in (131). A fronted full DP has moved into Spec-CP. Like in
the so-called verb-initial sentence, the aspect-mood particle is the main predicate,
which heads the TP. It selects a nominalized clause complement containing lexical
verb and cross reference markers.
(130) VS: [T P AM [DP [DP CRA -V-CRB ] full DP ] ]
(131) SV: [CP full DPi [T P AM [DP [DP CRA -V-CRB ] ti ] ] ]
In the next section, I discuss the mechanisms of agreement and the relationship to
movement in verb-initial and DP-initial intransitive imperfective clauses in Yucatec.
3.4 Agreement
I have outlined some arguments that the aspect-mood marker is the main predicate
of the clause which takes a nominal complement and that there are landing sites
above the main predicate for pre-verbal (or pre-aspect-mood marker) order. I have
argued that the structure of surface verb-initial (VS for short) and DP-initial (SV
for short) sentences in Yucatec differ. Now, I will provide the details of φ-feature
agreement for person and number in surface VS and SV intransitive imperfective
sentences.
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3.4.1 Agreement in VS sentences
The structure that I adopt for surface VS sentences in Yucatec is shown again
in (132). I assume that the AM particle is the main predicate which selects a
nominalized clausal complement. I assume that the AM particle is the head of the
TP.
(132) VS: [T P AM [DP [DP CRA -V-CRB ] full DP ] ]
I assume that the AM marker in T0 is φ-deficient. The AM particle may, in fact,
take a third person singular Set B cross-reference marker, but since the third person
singular Set B marker is phonologically null, as shown in (133), it is difficult to say
with certainty. It is a fact that the φ-deficient AM marker cannot take any other
cross reference markers. The example in (134) shows that a third person plural Set
B marker with the progressive AM marker is ungrammatical. In this case, we can
definitively say that the AM marker in T0 is φ-feature deficient, because it cannot
take number marking (even though person marking, for third person, is a possibility
that we cannot rule out because the third person Set B marker is phonologically
null).
(133) Táan-∅ uy-áalkab-o’ob
prog-b3 a3-run-b3.pl
‘They are running.’ Lit. Their running is happening.
(134) *Táan-o’ob uy-áalkab-o’ob
prog-b3.pl a3-run-b3.pl
‘They are running.’ Lit. Their runnings are happening.
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It is possible that the AM marker is part of a predicational structure or an
unaccusative verb. If it is a predicational structure (taking a third person Set B
marker as the Pred head), then we would assume the structure in (135) below.
(135) Predicational structure for VS sentences
We could also assume that the AM marker is an unaccusative verb which takes
one non-agentive subject, its DP complement. In this case, we could assume the
structure in (136) below in which the AM marker is an unaccusative verb ‘happen’ that undergoes head movement into an aspect head to yield the verb-aspect
compound ‘is happening.’
(136) Unaccusative structure for VS sentences
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One argument against the predicational and unaccusative verb approaches is that
some of the AM markers can form contractions with the genitive subject in Spec-DP
of the nominalized clause. The example in (137) below shows that the progressive
AM marker táan can form a contraction with the Set A third person marker u to
yield tun. When it does, the epenthetic glide y no longer occurs before the vowelinitial verb áalkab. If linear adjacency is a condition for contraction, then we have
a reason to favor the AM marker-in-T0 analysis. The important generalization here
is that this T0 is φ-deficient.
(137) Táan uy-áalkab-o’ob / Tun
áalkab-o’ob
prog a3-run-b3.pl / prog.a3 run-b3.pl
‘They are running.’ Lit Their running is happening.
In the structure proposed for intransitive imperfective VS sentences in Yucatec,
a full DP with plural marking is adjoined to the DP. Inside the DP, the crossreference markers mark the arguments of the nominalized clause. Since the T0
with the aspect marker, Táan, is φ-deficient, there is no uninterpretable number
feature which triggers a probe to search its domain for a matching interpretable
feature with a value, such as the interpretable number feature on the CR marker
of the possessor subject or the full adjoined DP. Since there is no requirement for
interpretable features to be deleted by LF, plural morphology can occur both on
the CR marker and the full adjoined DP, but there is no Agree relationship which
matches the two features. The tree in (139) shows the syntax of the intransitive
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imperfective VS sentence with a full DP in (138) below.
(138) Táan uy-áalkab-o’ob le xi’ipal-o’ob
prog a3-run-b3.pl def boy-pl
‘The boys are running.’
(139) No number agreement in intransitive imperfective VS sentences
This structure with a lack of Agree relation predicts that number agreement is
not obligatory in VS sentences. This is in fact the case. The sentences in (140)
through (142) shows that covariation of plural form on the verb and adjoined full
DP is not obligatory in verb-initial sentences. In fact, either the noun or verb can
have the plural form without the other also showing plural form, as shown in (141)
and (142).
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(140) Táan uy-áalkab-o’ob le xi’ipal-o’ob-o’
prog a3-run-b3.pl def boy-pl-d2
‘The boys are running.’ Lit. The boys’ running is happening.
(141) Táan uy-áalkab le xi’ipal-o’ob-o’
prog a3-run def boy-pl-d2
‘The boys are running.’ Lit. The boys’ running is happening.
(142) Táan uy-áalkab-o’ob le xi’ipal-o’
prog a3-run-b3.pl def boy-d2
‘The boys are running.’ Lit. The boys’ running is happening.
Now, I turn to the syntax of DP-initial sentences and the mechanism of number
agreement agreement in DP-initial sentences in Yucatec.
3.4.2 Agreement in SV sentences
In this section, I discuss the mechanics of Agree for number feature in DP-initial
sentences. First, I will repeat the bracketed structure for intransitive imperfective
SV sentences in Yucatec that I proposed in the last section in (143) below.
(143) SV: [CP full DPi [T P AM [DP [DP CRA -V-CRB ] ti ] ] ]
When a full DP is fronted, I assume that it undergoes Ā-movement to the CP
domain. It is likely that fronting of a DP is for topic or focus, and these DPs
could be landing in Topic or Focus Phrases, but I assign them to Spec-CP for
simplicity. Following Miyagawa (2010), I assume that movement serves to establish
a functional relation between a subject and predicate, a topic and comment, or a
theme and rheme, which he calls probe-goal union. In the case of Yucatec, this
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movement is triggered by a topic or focus feature. If φ-feature agreement is a phase
level phenomenon (Chomsky, 2005; Boeckx, 2003), then we predict C0 to be the
bearer of uninterpretable features. Thus, when C0 is present, as indicated by the
topic or focus-triggered movement of a full DP to the CP domain, we expect C0
to have an uninterpretable, unvalued number feature, [u#:
this uninterpretable, unvalued number feature [u#:
]. T0 then inherits
] from C0 (Chomsky, 2008).
Since uninterpretable features must be deleted before LF, T0 probes its c-command
domain for a matching interpretable, valued number feature, [i #: pl ]. It finds a
goal with this matching interpretable, valued number feature [i #: pl ] on the Set
B plural cross reference marker (CR) in Spec-vP. Then, the uninterpretable feature
is deleted and the derivation will not crash due to the existence of uninterpretable
features at LF, in line with the mechanics of the Agree operation (Chomsky, 2001).
The tree in (145) shows the syntax of the intransitive imperfective VS sentence and
Agree for number features with a fronted topicalized full DP in (144) below.
(144) Le xi’ipal-o’ob-e’ táan uy-áalkab-o’ob
def boy-pl-top prog a3-run-b3.pl
‘The boys are running.’ / ‘As for the boys, they are running.’
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(145) Number agreement in intransitive imperfective SV sentences
This analysis predicts number agreement to be obligatory when a fronted DP
confirms the presence of number features on C0 . In fact, speakers of Yucatec readily
accept intransitive SV sentences with both the fronted DP and lexical verb inside
the nominalized clause marked for plural, as in (146). They are quite reluctant,
however, to accept mismatching plural marking on the fronted DP and lexical verb.
The example in (147) shows that plural marking on the fronted DP but not the verb
is ungrammatical, and the example in (148) shows that plural marking on the verb
but not the fronted DP is also ungrammatical.
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(146) Le xi’ipal-o’ob-o’ táan uy-áalkab-o’ob
def boy-pl-d2
prog a3-run-b3.pl
‘The boys are running.’
(147) *Le xi’ipal-o’ob-o’ táan uy-áalkab
def boy-pl-d2
prog a3-run
‘The boys are running.’
(148) *Le xi’ipal-o’ táan uy-áalkab-o’ob
def boy-pl-d2 prog a3-run-b3.pl
‘The boys are running.’
This analysis sheds light on the surface observation that agreement in Yucatec
looks similar to the English-type subject-verb agreement even though the structures
of clauses in English and Yucatec clauses are remarkably different. What this analysis suggests is that agreement is carried out in the same way across all languages, via
probe-goal Agree, but it still allows for variation in morphosyntactic particulars of
a language like Yucatec Maya. This analysis is sympathetic to the one presented in
Miyagawa (2010) in which agreement is proposed to exist in order to establish a functional relation, whether between a subject and predicate, a theme and rheme or a
topic and presupposition. This analysis also supports Miyagawa (2010)’s claim that
languages can have mixed agreement properties, using φ-feature-based agreement
in some cases, resulting in morphological agreement, and using topic/focus-feature
agreement in other cases.
In Chapter 5, I present the results of an experiment in which the predictions of
this C-to-T inheritance proposal for number agreement are tested in a translation
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task that varies the order of full DP and the verb in intransitive imperfective sentences. First, I turn to the question of why the analysis of plural marking in the
nominal domain is not parallel to that of plural marking in the verbal core (which
we now analyze as an event nominalization).
3.5 Why is the syntax of the plural -o’ob in the verbal domain different from the
nominal domain?
In Chapter 2, I presented distributional, interpretational and experimental evidence
that the plural marker in the nominal domain is adjoined to the DP, as shown in
(149). In this chapter, I have taken the position that the plural marker in the verbal
core (the nominalized clausal DP) is Spec-vP and in combination with the Set A
marker in DP, refers to the person and number features of the possessor of the
nominalized clause. Naturally the question arises as to why the morphosyntax of
the plural marker in these two domains is not the same.
(149) Plural adjoined to DP
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There is one major semantic argument to support the idea that the third person
Set B plural cross reference marker in the nominalized clausal DP is not adjoined
to the DP. First, if the plural marker -o’ob were adjoined to the DP, we would
expect it to modify the entire DP and result in a pluractional reading of the event
in the nominalized clause. This is not the case in Yucatec, however. As we saw in
Chapter 2, when the plural marker -o’ob attaches to a verb, it does not result in a
pluractional reading, as shown again in (150).
(150) Táan u yáalkab-o’ob
prog a3 run-b3.pl
‘They are running’ / not: ‘Running repeatedly’
3.6 Summary
In this chapter, I presented arguments for the analysis of verb-initial (AM-initial)
clauses as being a φ-deficient T0 and selecting a nominalized clausal DP complement.
In verb-initial sentences, there is no Agree operation for number features between the
full DP subject and verb due to the absence of C0 (Chomsky, 2008). For DP-initial
clauses, a DP with plural morphology moves to the CP domain, triggered by a topic
or focus feature. The uninterpretable number feature on C0 is then inherited by
T0 . T0 then probes its domain for a matching interpretable valued number feature
(Chomsky, 2001). In Chapter 5, I present the results of an experiment which test
the asymmetric number agreement prediction of the C-to-T inheritance analysis
112
presented in this chapter.
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CHAPTER 4
EXPERIMENTS 1 AND 2: OPTIONALITY
4.1 Introduction
In this chapter, I present the results of two experiments which test the use of plural
marking on nouns and verbs by speakers of Yucatec Maya. I investigate whether
plural marking on nouns is less likely when the semantic number information is
explicitly marked, for example, when a numeral is used. This would support the
analysis of the plural marker in the nominal domain as a modificational adjunct
because its use would be redundant in combination with the numeral. Also, I
investigate whether plural marking is truly optional on nouns and verbs or if plural
marking on one predicts plural marking on the other. Experiment 1 is a translation
task that presents Spanish sentences with intransitive verbs and subject DPs in
three conditions, singular, “two” and plural. Experiment 2 is a picture-description
task, similar to Experiment 1, which presented stimulus sentences in Spanish in
one, two, and many (seven) conditions. Experiment 2 was designed to rule out the
potential influence of morphosyntactic persistence from the Spanish stimuli to the
Yucatec translations. The predictions that can be made for both experiments are:
1) if plural marking is a modificational adjunct, it should be used less frequently in
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conditions in which a numeral is used (because the semantic number information is
available from the numeral) and 2) if plural marking is truly optional on nouns and
verbs, plural marking on the verb should not be conditioned by plural marking on
the noun, and visa versa.
4.2 Experiment 1: Singular, “two” and plural nouns
4.2.1 Methods and predictions
Experiment 1 is a translation task in which Yucatec Maya speaking participants
heard sentences in Spanish and were asked to translate those sentences into Yucatec Maya under time pressure. The items varied in terms of whether the number
marking on the agent/subject noun phrase of an intransitive sentence was singular
(e.g. the girl), “two” (e.g. two girls) or plural (e.g. the girls) in number. If plural
marking is a modificational adjunct, we expect it to be used less frequently on nouns
in conditions in which a numeral is used (because the semantic number information
is available from the numeral and the presence of the plural modifier would be redundant). The second prediction is that if plural marking is truly optional on nouns
and verbs, plural marking on verbs should not be dependent upon plural marking
on nouns and visa versa.
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4.2.2 Participants
Thirty-two bilingual speakers of Yucatec Maya and Spanish participated in the
experiment in May of 2010. The experiment was carried out at the University of the
Orient (La Universidad del Oriente) in Valladolid, Yucatán, México. Participants
were compensated 25 Mexican pesos (about two dollars, a fair rate adjusted for
average income) for their participation. Most of the participants were undergraduate
students at the University of the Orient. The few participants who were not students
were staff at the university or friends or relatives who had heard about the studies
and asked to participate. There were fourteen female and eighteen male participants
between the ages of eighteen and forty-two. The experiment was carried out in a
sound-proof recording room or in a vacant classroom at the University of the Orient.
4.2.3 Materials
The Spanish stimuli were speech synthesized sentences from the voice of Alberto, a
R
synthesized male Latin American Spanish voice from AT&T Labs Natural Voices
text-to-speech project. There were 30 items of which 16 referred to humans and 14
to animals. There were 32 fillers. Half of the fillers were transitive sentences in which
the object varied in number or sentences. The other half of the fillers were sentences
with predicate adjectives. The items and fillers were arranged in a Latin Squares
design into three pseudo-randomized lists. Table 4.1 provides example items for each
of the three conditions, listing both the Spanish stimulus and potential responses in
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Yucatec Maya.1
Table 4.1: Experiment 1 conditions and potential responses
Condition Spanish stimulus
Singular
El muchachoSG
estáSG jugando
‘The boy
is playing.’
“Two”
Dos mujeresP L
estánP L cantando
‘Two women
are singing.’
Plural
Las muchachasP L
estánP L durmiendo
‘The girls
are sleeping.’
Example
Yucatec response
Singular
Le xi’ipal-o’
tun baxal
The boy-d2
prog.a3 play
“Two”
Ka’a-túul ko’olel(-o’ob) tun k’aay(-o’ob)
Two-cl.an(-pl)
prog.a3 sing(-pl)
Plural
Le ch’úupal(-o’ob)-o’
tun wenel(-o’ob)
The girl(-pl)-d2
prog.a3 sleep(-pl)
4.2.4 Procedure
Participants completed a language background survey answering questions about
their experiences with Yucatec Maya and Spanish growing up and about their current usage of both languages. Participants were seated in a comfortable chair at a
table in front of a MacBook Pro laptop with a 15 inch screen. They wore a Siemens
headset with a unidirectional microphone that delivered the the Spanish stimuli
and recorded their responses. The experiment was delivered with the ExBuilder
experimental software, developed at the University of Rochester. The participants
were given oral instructions from the experimenter, and they also were able to read
1
A full list of the stimuli used in Experiment 1 are available in Appendix A.
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a set of instructions in Spanish before beginning the experiment. The experiment
included four practice trials before the experimental procedure, and the participants
were prompted on screen to ask the experimenter if they had any questions before
proceeding. In the experiment, the Spanish stimulus was first delivered then repeated two times. The stimulus could be heard a total of three times. After the
participant heard the stimulus one time, the participant was allowed to press the
spacebar to begin recording their translated response. The participant was given
the option to listen to the sentence repeated up to two time. The participant could
press the spacebar at any point after the stimulus was played the first time to begin
the recording of the translation. The participant was given 15 seconds to record
their translated sentence in Yucatec Maya. On the screen, there was a timebar to
indicate how much of the 15 seconds was left before the experiment would automatically proceed to the next trial. Once the participant had uttered his or her sentence
in Yucatec, he or she was allowed to press the spacebar to proceed to the next trial,
rather than waiting for the full 15 seconds to be up. The experiment took no longer
than 30 minutes to complete.
4.2.5 Results
Coding and inclusion criteria
In total, there were 900 sentences produced by all subjects in Experiment 1. All
responses were coded by the author and checked against transcriptions, with anno-
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tation and coding for plural markers completed by two native speakers of Yucatec
Maya. The annotators were students in the Maya Culture and Linguistics program
at the University of the Orient in Valladolid, Mexico who are trained in the Yucatec
Maya orthography and in basic linguistic concepts. Inter-annotator agreement, and
agreement between the author’s coding and the annotators’ coding was over 85 percent, for all potential instances of plural marking (i.e. two for every item). The
responses in Experiment 1 were coded for the plural morpheme -o’ob on the subject and on the verb. Responses were also coded for the use of a classifier on the
subject noun. The responses were also coded for verb transitivity and order of the
constituents S and V. If a response was transitive, whether the object was marked
with the plural morpheme -o’ob was noted as well. It was also coded whether the
subject noun and verb (and object, where relevant) were original Maya words or
borrowings from Spanish.
There were 799 out of 901 responses that were included in the analyses (102
total exclusions). Responses were excluded if the participant gave no response (46
excluded), if the author or annotator was unsure if there was plural marking on
either the noun or verb (26 excluded), if there was no verb mentioned (25 excluded)
or no subject mentioned (1 excluded). Responses that involved Spanish borrowings,
either subject noun or verb or both, were not excluded if they were borrowed with
a Yucatec determiner or other Yucatec morphology. Borrowings from Spanish into
Yucatec are common, so borrowings in the experimental responses were expected.
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A noun with Spanish plural morphology but no Yucatec plural morpheme was not
included in the counts of plural marking with the Yucatec plural -o’ob.
Statistical analyses
Chi-squared tests revealed significantly more plural marking in the “two” condition
compared to the singular condition for both nouns (X 2 (1) = 253.2, p < 0.0001) and
verbs (X 2 (1) = 355.5, p < 0.0001). There was significantly more plural marking
on nouns in the plural condition compared to the “two” condition (X 2 (1) = 48.8,
p < 0.0001), but the effect did not hold for verbs (X 2 (1) = 2.8, p < 0.1). Though
there was significantly more plural marking on nouns in the plural versus the “two”
condition, the difference between plural marking on verbs in the “two” versus the
plural condition was just marginal.
Over 98 percent of the responses in Experiment 1 were verb-final. Even after
excluding cases that were verb-initial (out of 15 total verb-initial responses, 11 had
no plural marker on verbs in the “two” and plural conditions) and cases in which
there was no classifier used in the “two” condition (19 excluded) and cases in which
verbs were transitive (and the plural could have been marked on an object nominal)
(76 excluded), the effect for verbs was still not significant (X 2 (1) = 0.2, p < 0.1). The
difference between plural marking on verbs in the “two” and plural conditions was
not significant (or marginally significant). The chart in (151) shows the proportion
of plural marking on nouns and verbs in Experiment 1.
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(151) Proportion of plural marking on nouns and verb in Exp. 1
A Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient revealed a significant preference for
covariation of plural form across conditions (R2 (1) = 0.53, p < 0.001). Participants
significantly preferred to mark both the subject noun and verb in the same way.
Participants marked both the subject noun and the verb with the plural morpheme,
or they marked neither. Plural marking on the DP and VP were significantly dependent on one another (X 2 (1) = 418, p < 0.001), as the Spearman’s rank suggests.
The chart in 152 shows the proportion of covariant plural marking across conditions. Additionally, human versus animal agent-subjects did not show a significant
difference in being plural marked on DPs (X 2 (1) = 0.005, p < 1) or VPs (X 2 (1) =
0.003, p < 1).
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(152) Proportion of covariant plural marking in Exp. 1
4.2.6 Discussion
Number and numerals
In Experiment 1 plural marking on subject nouns was more likely in the “two”
condition compared to the singular condition. Also, plural marking on nouns was
more likely in the plural condition compared to the “two” condition. This result
confirms the prediction that due to the modificational adjunct status of nominal
plural marker, it should be less likely to appear in conditions in which the semantic
number information is already marked, such as in the “two” condition compared to
the plural condition.
These results parallel the results of Eberhard (1997) who found that number
agreement attraction errors were less likely to occur when a numeral was used to
modify the head noun. Agreement attraction is normally a robust effect. A plural
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local distractor noun like “cabinets” in “The key to the cabinets” will result in responses with number agreement errors, such as “The key to the cabinets are on the
table” (Bock and Miller, 1991). When the head noun contains a numeral, however,
such as “One key to the cabinets...’ Eberhard found no agreement attraction effect.
The results from this experiment are similar. Based on the theoretical proposal
presented in Chapter 2, I claim that the nominal plural marker is not obligatory but
optionally adjoined. Though plural marking and number agreement are obligatory
in English, we see a similar effect of a numeral on plural marking. There is some
aspect of number marking involving a numeral which apparently makes the semantic
number content stronger or clearer so that there are fewer attraction errors by English speakers and fewer modificational plurals used by speakers of Yucatec. Given
that English and Yucatec differ quite a lot in terms of number marking properties,
this is an interesting cross-linguistic finding which is promising for future research.
Optionality of number agreement
The second prediction we entertained was that if plural marking is optional on nouns
and verbs, we would not necessarily expect a significant preference for covariation
of form. Plural marking on verbs should not be dependent upon plural marking on
nouns and visa versa. There was, however, a significant preference for covariation
of form. Participants preferred to either mark both the subject noun and the verb
with plural morphology, or to leave both unmarked, except for a small proportion
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of sentences with numerals in the DP which did not have nominal plural marking
but did have plural marking on the verb. The fact that participants largely preferred covariation of form, supports the proposal in Chapter 3 that number feature
agreement is determined by C0 , given that over 98 percent of the responses were
subject-initial and verb-final. Another possibility for the preference for covariation is
the morphosyntactic priming, or persistence, effect, which I discuss in the following
paragraphs.
Translation and morphosyntactic persistence
The translation method employed in this experiment was chosen due to its simplicity and naturalness for the participants who may not be as experienced with
psycholinguistic experiments and testing paradigms in general as are university students in more developed nations (cf. Henrich et al. (2010)). There are, however,
many potential drawbacks of the translation method. The high rate of usage of plural morphology in the Yucatec responses could have been affected by the obligatory
number marking in the Spanish stimuli. The results we see in Experiment 1 could
have been affected by morpho-syntactic priming (or persistence) from Spanish to
the Yucatec responses.2
There are two separate phenomena that go under the name “syntactic priming.” One is the facilitated processing of a word due to congruence with a prior
syntactic context. The other is the facilitatory effect of processing a full sentence
2
Thanks to Janet Nicol for formulating this question.
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structure based on a previous congruent syntactic structure (Nicol, 1996). These
different areas of research have in common the idea that a larger syntactic context
can influence the course of subsequent word and sentence production. For example,
Gurjanov et al. (1985) showed that in Serbo-Croatian, adjectives inflected for gender
and case facilitated lexical access of nouns with the same gender and case specifications. In addition, Bock (1986) showed that ditransitive and passive sentences
would prime the use of the same structures in unrelated sentences for speakers of
English. Though these studies were not across two languages, there is independent evidence that syntactic priming in sentence production (if not also in lexical
decision) has an effect across languages. Loebell and Bock (2003) found that ditranstitives and prepositional datives primed the same structures between German
and English. Similarly, Hartsuiker et al. (2004) found passives sentences primed
other passives between English and Spanish. There are some limits on the extent
of the effect of syntactic priming, however, Loebell and Bock (2003) did not find
syntactic priming for passives between German and English, presumably because
the German passive sentences were verb-final, while the English passives were not.
In addition, Bock and Griffin (2003) found that syntactic priming did not affect
high frequency or highly preferred structures.3
Thus, in the case of this translation experiment, it is possible that the processing
of words with plural morphology in Yucatec Maya was facilitated by the previous
3
see Branigan (2007) for an overview of syntactic priming at the sentence level.
125
context in which a Spanish sentence with plural morphology was presented. Experiment 2 was designed to address this potential confound. Experiment 2 is a picture
description task with very similar stimuli to those presented in Experiment 1 but in
picture form. There are three conditions depicting one, two or seven (many) of the
human or animal depicting an intransitive action.
4.3 Experiment 2: One, Two and Many
Since Experiment 1 was a translation task in which the participant was given a
sentence in Spanish and asked to translate that sentence into Yucatec Maya, there
is a strong possibility of morpho-syntactic priming from the Spanish stimuli. Since
number in Spanish is obligatorily marked on nouns and as agreement inflection on
verbs, this marking could have influenced the occurrence of and domains in which
plural marking in the Yucatec translations appeared. Experiment 2 addresses this
potential confound by using a picture description task rather than a translation
task to test the effects of number on the occurrence of optional plural marking in
sentence production in Yucatec Maya.
4.3.1 Methods and predictions
Experiment 2 is a picture description task with three conditions, one, two and many
(seven). The one condition has pictures which depict one character, human or
animal, doing an intransitive action. The two condition has pictures which show
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two of the same characters doing an intransitive action, and the many condition
has pictures which show seven of the same characters doing an intransitive action.
The prediction of Experiment 2 is that if plural marking was affected by morphosyntactic persistence from the Spanish stimuli in Experiment 1, then we expect to
see lower proportions of plural marking in Experiment 2 compared to Experiment
1. Also, we can re-examine the same predictions that we tested in Experiment 1 to
see if they still hold. If plural marking is a modificational adjunct, we expect it to
be used less frequently when a numeral provides the semantic number information.
The second prediction is that if plural marking is optionally marked on nouns and
verbs, we would not expect that covariation of form is significantly more likely than
not. In other words, plural marking on verbs should not be dependent upon plural
marking on nouns and visa versa.
4.3.2 Participants
Twenty-seven participants, fourteen females and thirteen males between the ages
of 19 and 26 participated in February of 2011 and were compensated twenty-five
Mexican pesos (just over two dollars) for their participation. All participants were
undergraduate students at the University of the Orient (La Universidad del Oriente)
in Valladolid, Yucatán, México. All participants were bilingual in Yucatec Maya and
Spanish. This experiment was carried out in a sound proof recording room at the
university. Two of the participants were run separately in an unoccupied computer
127
lab, because the recording room was unavailable. Some of the participants who
participated in Experiment 1 also participated in Experiment 2, but Experiment 2
was conducted more than 8 months after Experiment 1, so it would not be likely to
influence the responses in Experiment 2.
4.3.3 Materials
Participants were shown pictures in three conditions, one, two and many (seven).
The one condition had one person or animal depicting an intransitive action, such
as a woman singing, a frog jumping or a boy writing, shown in (153).4
(153) One condition
The two condition depicts two of the same character, person or animal, engaged
in an intransitive action, such as two girls drinking, two monkeys eating or two
chickens running, shown in (154).
(154) Two condition
4
A full list of the stimuli in Experiment 2 are available in Appendix B.
128
The many category depicts seven of the same character, person or animal, in
an intransitive event, such as babies crying, dogs barking, or young women dancing
shown in (155).
(155) Many condition
All of the pictures were “clipart” style, simple but clear depictions of people and
animals in black and white or greyscale. There were 24 items (12 human and 12
animal) and 48 fillers. The fillers depicted transitive actions with one two, three or
seven objects (e.g. a man eating two sandwiches). The items were counterbalanced
as best as possible for the direction in which the character was facing (left, right,
or forward). Three lists were arranged into a Latin Squares design and randomized
with the fillers into three lists.
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4.3.4 Procedure
Participants first completed a language background survey about their their language use, how many hours per day and where they speak each language. Then,
participants were seated in a chair at a table facing a Mac Book Pro laptop with
a 15 inch screen or a Lenovo laptop with a 13 inch screen. Participants wore a
Siemens headset with a unidirectional microphone that recorded their responses.
The experiment was delivered with the ExBuilder experimental software, developed
at the University of Rochester. The participant was given oral followed by written
instructions in Spanish. There were four practice trials. The participant was shown
a picture. Below the picture appeared a timebar that indicated to the participant
how much time remained in the trial. Participants were given 15 seconds to say
their response to each picture. The participant could optionally press the spacebar
when she or he was finished saying their sentence. Upon pressing the spacebar, the
experiment would proceed to the next trial rather than waiting for the 15 seconds
to be up. The experiment took no longer than 30 minutes to complete.
4.3.5 Results
Coding and inclusion criteria
Responses were excluded if there was no utterance made (28 excluded), if the utterance was unintelligible (2 excluded), if it was unclear whether plural marking
was present or not (potentially due to fast or unclear speech) (23 excluded), if the
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participant used no verb or a predicate adjective rather than a verb (38 excluded)
or if the utterance was completely in Spanish (1 excluded). After exclusions, there
were 556 out of 648 total responses that were included. Included responses were
coded for plural marking on the noun and verb, use of numeral and classifier, and
order of constituents in the sentence.
Statistical analyses
There was significantly more plural marking in the two condition than the one
condition for subject nouns (X 2 (1) = 101.5, p < 0.001) and verbs (X 2 (1) = 139.7,
p < 0.001). And, there was significantly more plural marking in the many condition
than the two condition, for nouns (X 2 (1) = 33.5, p < 0.001) and verbs (X 2 (1) =
11, p < 0.001). The chart in (156) shows the proportion of plural marking on nouns
and verbs in the three conditions, one, two and many.
(156) Proportion of plural marking in Experiment 2
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A Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient revealed a significant preference for
covariation of plural form across conditions (R2 (1) = 0.61, p < 0.001). This statistic
even includes cases in which a numeral and classifier was used. With the use of
a numeral and classifier, there were slightly more cases of nouns without plural
marking and verbs with plural marking, but the test was still significant (see Table
4.2 for the proportion of covariant plural marking for those noun phrases that had
a numeral and classifier and those that did not).
Table 4.2: Experiment 2 proportion of covariant and non-covariant plural marking
on numeral-classifier- and numeral-classifier-less nouns
Plural marking Numeral-classifier DPs Non-numeral-classifier DPs
S-V
0.35
0.56
Spl-V
0.02
0.03
S-Vpl
0.28
0.03
Spl-Vpl
0.35
0.38
Plural marking on the DP and VP were significantly dependent on one another
(X 2 (1) = 299, p < 0.001), confirming the results of the Spearman’s rank statistic. The chart in (157) shows the proportion of covariant plural marking across
conditions.
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(157) Proportion of covariant plural marking in Exp. 2
Numeral and classifier use in Experiment 2 was common. In the two condition,
a numeral and classifier were used in 41 percent of responses. Even in the many
condition, some subjects counted the seven objects and used the numeral seven and
the appropriate classifier in their response. In the many (seven) condition, numeral
and classifier were used in 17 percent of the responses. In addition, there was some
use of numeral and classifier in the one condition. The numeral one plus the relevant
classifier is also the make-up of the indefinite determiner in Yucatec. The chart
in (158) shows the proportions of plural morphology and numeral-classifier use in
Experiment 2 (PL representing plural and CL representing numeral and classifier).
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(158) Proportion of plural and numeral-classifier use in Experiment 2
Over 96 percent of the responses in Experiment 2 were verb-final, even though
there was no potential of syntactic priming from a Spanish stimulus, delivered verbinitially, as in Experiment 1. There were too few verb-initial responses for a reliable
statistical comparison between verb-initial and subject-initial clauses, but I address
the issue of word order and number agreement in Experiment 4 in Chapter 5.
I also tested the effect of humanness on the likelihood of plural marking, since
again, half of the items depicted humans and the other half animals. Chi-squared
tests revealed that humanness, however, did not significantly affect the use of plural
marking on nouns (X 2 (1) = 0.78, p < 0.5) or verbs (X 2 (1) = 0.05, p < 0.5) in the
descriptions of the pictured items.
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4.3.6 Comparing plural usage in Experiments 1 and 2
At this point, we can compare the occurrence of plural marking across the different experimental results in Experiments 1 and 2. The task in Experiment 1 was a
translation task, from Spanish to Yucatec Maya. Since plural marking is obligatory,
it appeared in the stimuli in the two and plural conditions (but not in the singular
condition), and could have influenced the occurrence of plural marking in the Yucatec responses. Experiment 2 was a picture description task with one object, two or
many (seven) objects so that there was no potential direct influence from a Spanish
stimulus sentence on the occurrence of plural marking in the Yucatec responses. In
Experiment 1, there was significantly more plural marking in the “two” condition
compared to the singular condition and in the plural condition compared to the
“two” condition for nouns. For plural marking on verb, there was significantly more
plural marking in the “two” condition compared to the singular condition, but not
(or marginally significant) in the plural condition compared to the “two” condition.
In Experiment 2, the picture description task, there was significantly more plural
use in the two condition than the one condition and in the many condition than the
two condition for both nouns and verbs.
The chart in (159) shows the proportion of plurals used on nouns and verbs in
Experiment 1, the translation task, was overall higher than in Experiment 2, the picture description task. The chart also reveals, interestingly, that the patterns across
experiments remained the same despite the higher proportion of plural marking in
135
the two and plural/many conditions in Experiment 1. There was somewhat less
plural marking on nouns than verbs in the two conditions of both experiments, but
in the plural/many conditions, plural marking was closer to equally proportioned
on nouns and verbs for both experiments.
(159) Proportion of plural marking in Experiments 1 and 2
In both Experiments 1 and 2, participants significantly preferred covariation
of form. The chart in (160) shows the proportions of covariant plural marking in
Experiments 1 and 2. Even though there was no direct influence from a Spanish
stimulus sentence in Experiment 2, participants still preferred the subject noun and
verb to have matching form, either both plural or both unmarked.
(160) Proportion of plural marking in Experiment 2
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4.3.7 General Discussion
Experiment 2 was designed to rule out the effect of morphosyntactic persistence
from a Spanish stimulus, which was a potential confound in Experiment 1. There
was some influence from Spanish because in Experiment 2 the overall rate of plural
marking was lower than in Experiment 1. The distribution of plural marking in
Experiment 2, however, was very similar to that found in Experiment 1. Experiment
2, like Experiment 1, revealed that participants marked plurals significantly more
when there was no numeral that provided the semantic number information. In
Experiment 2, this effect was significant for nouns as well as verbs, whereas in
Experiment 1 the effect was only marginal for verbs. Thus, the results of Experiment
2 are parallel to those of Experiment 1 and those reported in Eberhard (1997)
that the presence of a numeral appears to strengthen the representation of number,
making a head noun less susceptible to agreement attraction in English and less
137
likely to receive modificational plural marking in Yucatec.
In Experiment 2, like Experiment 1, participants significantly preferred covariation of plural form, even though there was no influence from preceding sentences in
Spanish with obligatory number agreement, as was true of Experiment 1. Participants either marked both the subject noun and the verb with plural morphology,
or they marked neither. Responses in which the subject noun but not the verb was
marked for plural, or visa versa, were uncommon. Thus, we can conclude without
the confound of morphosyntactic persistence, that there is a preference for covariation of form, a result that has the appearance of obligatory number agreement, at
least for verb-final sentences from these participants in these experiments. In the
next chapter, I present the results of Experiments 3 and 4. Experiment 3 tests the
predictions of the DP-adjoined nominal plural hypothesis presented in Chapter 2.
Experiment 4 tests the predictions of the C-to-T hypothesis of number agreement
for SV clauses and the lack of number agreement in VS clauses presented in Chapter
3.
138
CHAPTER 5
EXPERIMENTS 3 AND 4: CONSTITUENCY
5.1 Introduction
Chapter 4 presented the results of Experiments 1 and 2. We found evidence for
analyzing the nominal plural as a modificational adjunct. It was less likely to be
used in a noun phrase which contained a numeral in both translation and picture
description tasks. In this chapter, I first present the results of a mini-acceptability
judgment task for plural marking in conjoined DPs. Then, I present the results
of Experiment 3, which tests the constituency of the DP-adjoined nominal plural
hypothesis in a translation task. Experiment 3 presented an intransitive verb with a
conjoined DP subject in which the number marking of each noun varied. The results
of Experiments 1 and 2 raised some other interesting issues such the question of
whether number agreement is obligatory. Covariation of plural form was significantly
preferred in the responses to Experiments 1 and 2. And, in Chapter 3, I presented
an analysis of number agreement as C-to-T inheritance in Yucatec which predicts
asymmetric number agreement. In other words, which number agreement is absent
for verb-initial clauses but operational for DP-initial clauses in which a DP has
been fronted for topic or focus. Experiment 4 tests the predictions of the C-to-T
139
inheritance hypothesis of number agreement.
5.2 Acceptability judgments with plural marking
I conducted a mini-acceptability judgment task in order to get Yucatec Maya speakers’ judgments about plural marking with conjoined nouns and intransitive verbs.
There were three picture conditions, one-one, many-one and many-many. The picture in (162) shows an example of the one-one condition. The picture in (163) shows
an example of the one-many condition. The picture in (164) shows an example of
the many-many condition.1 Each picture was matched with a sentence variant in
Yucatec. The sentence variants varied in having plural marking on the first noun,
second noun and verb, as in (161a through h).
(161)
a) Le xi’ipal yéetel le péek’-o’ táan u yaalkab
The boy and the dog are running
b) Le xi’ipal yéetel le péek’-o’ táan u yaalkab-o’ob
The boy and the dog are running-pl
c) Le xi’ipal yéetel le péek’-o’ob-o’ táan u yaalkab
The boy and the dog-pl are running
d) Le xi’ipal yéetel le péek’-o’ob-o’ táan u yaalkab-o’ob
The boy and the dog-pl are running-pl
e) Le xi’ipal-o’ob yéetel le péek’o’ táan u yaalkab
The boy-pl and the dog are running
f) Le xi’ipal-o’ob yéetel le péek’-o’ táan u yaalkab-o’ob
The boy-pl and the dog are running-pl
g) Le xi’ipal-o’ob yéetel le péek’-o’ob-o’ táan u yaalkab
The boy-pl and the dog-pl are running
1
A full list of picture stimuli are available in Appendix D.
140
h) Le xi’ipal-o’ob yéetel le péek’–o’ob-o’ táan u yaalkab-o’ob
The boy-pl and the dog-pl are running-pl
(162) One-one condition
(163) One-two/many condition
(164) Two/many-two/many condition
There were four native speakers of Yucatec who gave their acceptability judgments on these sentences according to a 3-point scale (acceptable, not acceptable,
so-so) via an online webform. The proportion of anwers for each acceptability rating
for the one-one picture items are reported in Table 5.1. The proportion of answers
141
for each acceptability rating for the one-two items are in Table 5.2, and the proportion of ratings for the two-two items are in Table 5.3. In the one-one picture
condition (Table 5.1) the only sentence for which all four participants shared the
same judgment is the one in which both nouns were unmarked for plural and the
verb had plural marking (N1-N2-Vpl). In addition, the sentences with plural marking on the first noun but not the second (N1pl-N2-V and N1pl-N2-Vpl) were not
rated as acceptable by any of the participants. On the other hand, sentences with
plural marking after the second noun (N1-N2-pl-V and N1-N2pl-Vpl) were rated
acceptable at a rate of 25 to 50 percent for the one-one picture items.
Table 5.1: Proportion of
Sentence condition
N1-N2-V
N1-N2-Vpl
N1pl-N2-V
N1pl-N2-Vpl
N1-N2-pl-V
N1-N2pl-Vpl
N1pl-N2pl-V
N1pl-N2pl-Vpl
acceptability
Acceptable
0.5
1
0
0
0.5
0.25
0
0.25
ratings
So-so
0
0
0.5
0.5
0
0
0.25
0
for one-one pictures
Not acceptable
0.5
0
0.5
0.5
0.5
0.75
0.75
0.75
For the one-two picture condition, shown in Table 5.2, judgments were quite
variable again. There was not one item for which all four participants agreed.
In the two-two condition, shown in Table 5.3, all participants reported the same
judgment that the sentence with plural marking on all three constituents (N1plN2pl-Vpl) was acceptable. Judgments of all other sentence conditions were highly
varied.
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Table 5.2: Acceptability judgments for one-two pictures
Sentence condition Acceptable So-so Not acceptable
N1-N2-V
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1-N2-Vpl
0.5
0.25 0.25
N1pl-N2-V
0
0.5
0.5
N1pl-N2-Vpl
0.25
0
0.75
N1-N2-pl-V
0.5
0
0.5
N1-N2pl-Vpl
0.75
0.25 0
N1pl-N2pl-V
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1pl-N2pl-Vpl
0.25
0.25 0.5
Table 5.3: Acceptability judgments for two-two pictures
Sentence condition Acceptable So-so Not acceptable
N1-N2-V
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1-N2-Vpl
0.5
0
0.5
N1pl-N2-V
0
0.5
0.5
N1pl-N2-Vpl
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1-N2-pl-V
0.5
0
0.5
N1-N2pl-Vpl
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1pl-N2pl-V
0.25
0.25 0.5
N1pl-N2pl-Vpl
1
0
0
In all three picture conditions, no participant rated a sentence which had N1plN2-V as acceptable. The judgments were extremely variable, however. It is possible
that with more participants and a larger rating scale, more highly quantifiable and
thus interpretable results may have come through. In addition, this mini-study did
not make use of fillers, so that could have affected the outcome as well. I view
this variability of acceptability ratings as an excellent reason to look at the use
of plural marking in sentence production experiments. Next, I present the results
of two addition sentence production experiments on plural marking and number
agreement.
143
5.3 Experiment 3: Conjoined singular and plural nouns
Experiment 3 is a translation task which presented a conjoined noun phrase and
intransitive verb for the participant to translate from Spanish to Yucatec under time
pressure. The conjoined noun phrases varied in the number marking on either noun
(singular and plural). Experiment 3 tests the constituency of the plural marker in
the nominal domain. It provides evidence for the DP-adjoined hypothesis presented
in Chapter 2.
5.3.1 Methods and predictions
Experiment 3 is a translation task that presented stimulus sentences in Spanish
that consist of an intransitive verb and a conjoined noun phrase with the first and
second noun varying in number marking. The prediction that can be made for
Experiment 3 is that if the plural marker is adjoined high, to the Determiner Phrase,
the plural morpheme will be more likely to appear after the second linear noun of
the conjunct, since one plural marker following the noun conjunct can encode the
plurality of either, both, or neither (modifying the conjunct has a whole) of the
preceding nouns, as shown in (165) below.
(165) le x-ch’úupal yéetel le xi’ipal-o’ob-o’
def fem-girl and def boy-pl-d2
‘the girl(s) and the boy(s)’
As we saw in Chapter 2, the plural marker can adjoin to the first or second noun,
144
but it is also possible to adjoin to the highest DP projection, as shown in (166).
The DP-adjoined plural proposal predicts that the plural marker should occur after
the second linear noun of the conjunct even when the participant hears a sentence
in Spanish which has the first noun plural and second noun singular and also for a
sentence in Spanish which has two singular nouns. I will take this as evidence that
the plural morpheme adjoins to the DP, rather than to a lower projection.
(166) High plural attachment in a conjoined DP
5.3.2 Participants
Twenty-eight native speakers of Yucatec Maya, between the ages of eighteen and
forty-two, participated in the experiment and were compensated 25 Mexican pesos
(just over 2 U.S. dollars) for their participation in May of 2010. The experiment
was carried out in a sound-proof recording room at the University of the Orient (La
Universidad del Oriente) in Valladolid, Yucatán México. Most of the participants
were undergraduate students at the university. A few of the participants who took
part in Experiment 1 also took part in Experiment 3, but they were always separated
by one day. That is to say, no person participated in both Experiment 1 and
145
Experiment 3 in the same day.
5.3.3 Materials
The Spanish stimulus was recorded from the speech synthesized voice of Alberto, a
R
male Latin American Spanish synthesized voice from AT&T Labs Natural Voices
text-to-speech project. Experiment 3 presented intransitive verbs with conjoined
noun phrases varying in singular versus plural first and second noun. There were
18 items. Five items had conjoined nouns phrases with both nouns referring to
humans, and thirteen items had conjoined noun phrases with both nouns referring
to animals. There were 36 fillers which consisted of singular and plural subject noun
phrases in transitive sentences with singular objects. Half of the transitive fillers
had singular subjects and conjoined DP objects. The remainder of the fillers were
sentences with predicate adjectives. The items and fillers were arranged in a Latin
Squares design and randomized into four lists. Table 5.4 lists the conditions along
with examples of the Spanish stimuli and potential Yucatec responses.2
5.3.4 Procedure
Participants completed a language background survey inquiring about their experiences with Yucatec Maya and Spanish growing up and about their current usage
of both languages. Participants were then seated in a comfortable chair at a table
in front of a MacBook Pro laptop with a 15 inch screen. They wore a Siemens
2
A full list of experimental items in Experiment 3 is available in Appendix C.
146
Table 5.4: Experiment 3 conditions and potential responses
Cond. Spanish stimulus
SS
El muchachoSG y el hombreSG
estánP L caminando.
‘The boy and the man
are walking.’
SP
La mujerSG y las muchachasP L
estánP L cantando.
‘The woman and the girls
are singing.’
PS
Las viejasP L y el bebéSG
estánP L durmiendo.
‘The old ladies and the babies
are sleeping.’
PP
Los viejosP L y los campesinosP L
estánP L comiendo.
‘The old men and the farmers
are eating.’
Potential
Yucatec response
SS
Le xi’ipal yéetel le maak-o’
tun ximbal(-o’ob).
The boy and the person-d2
prog.a3 walk(-pl)
SP
Le ko’olel yéetel le chúupal(-o’ob)-o’
tun k’aay(-o’ob).
The woman and the girl(-pl)-d2
prog.a3 sing(-pl)
PS
Le chiich(-o’ob) yéetel le champal-o’
tun wenel(-o’ob).
The old.lady(-pl) and the baby-d2
prog.a3 sleep(-pl)
PP
Le úuchben(-o’ob) yéetel le kolnal(-o’ob)-o’ tun janal(-o’ob)
The old.man(-pl) and the farmers(-pl)-d2 are eating(-pl)
headset with a unidirectional microphone which enabled them to hear the stimuli,
and it recorded their responses. The experiment was delivered with the ExBuilder
experimental software, developed at the University of Rochester. The participants
were given oral instructions from the experimenter, and they also were able to read
a set of instructions in Spanish before beginning the experiment. The experiment
included four practice trials before the experiment began, and the participants were
prompted on screen to ask the experimenter if they had any questions before proceeding. Just like in Experiment 1, the Spanish stimulus was first played then
repeated two times. The stimulus could be heard a total of three times. After the
first first stimulus sentence was presented, the participant was allowed to press the
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spacebar to begin recording their translated response if they did not need or want to
listen to the two repetitions of the sentence. The participant was given 15 seconds
to record their translated sentence in Yucatec Maya. There was a timebar displayed
at the bottom of the screen which indicated how much time was remaining. The
participant was allowed to press the spacebar to proceed to the next trial, rather
than waiting for the 15 seconds to be up, once they had uttered their sentence in
Yucatec. The experiment took no longer than 30 minutes to complete.
3
5.3.5 Results
Coding and inclusion criteria
The responses to the experimental stimuli were coded by the author for plural on
the first noun, second noun and verb. Additionally, responses were coded for the
order of the three constituents, N1, N2 and V. Responses were coded for whether the
participant used a native Maya word or a borrowing from Spanish. Also, responses
were coded for whether there was a phrase-final particle after one or both of the
nouns. Additionally the responses were coded for whether there was a transitive
verb and an object, and if so, if it was marked with a plural morpheme. In some
cases, where verbs were not marked with the plural morpheme, they were transitive
verbs with objects which had the plural morpheme (e.g. make food -pl versus of
3
It should be noted here that the PP condition was run as a separate experiment in February
of 2011, due to a mistake in the original design. Thus, some of the participants were different from
those who participated in the SS, SP and PS conditions. Perhaps this requires a grain of salt in
the interpretation of the results of the PP condition.
148
cook -pl). The responses from two of the participants were transcribed and coded
by a native speaker (the same as in Experiment 1) to ensure over 85 percent coding
agreement between the author and native speaker, which was met.
There were a total of 504 responses to experimental items. There were 46 responses which were excluded because they were unintelligible to the author or because it was too difficult to determine if there was a plural morpheme or not (mostly
due to fast or unclear speech). There were 32 responses excluded because they had
missing constituents. In these cases, the participant did not mention all three constituents, noun 1, noun 2 and verb. For example, for a Spanish stimulus sentence
such as “The eagle and the crow are flying” a common excluded response in Yucatec
was “The birds are flying.” Additionally, there were 10 responses excluded because
there was no response at all and 8 responses excluded because verbs were translated
as reflexive just in case they were less likely to show plural marking. There were
2 responses excluded because they participant did not finish their sentence before
the time limit. After exclusions, there were 406 out of 504 sentences included in the
analyses.
Statistical analyses
Overall, the rate of plural marking on verbs was high (over 93 percent) in all conditions. This situation was expected because even a singular-singular conjunct without
plural morphology is notionally plural and due to the translation task inducing mor-
149
phosyntactic persistence. There was significantly more plural marking on the second
noun compared to the first (X 2 (1) = 62, p < 0.001). The figure in (167) shows that
in all the responses the first noun was marked with the plural in about 9 percent
of cases in all conditions, while the second noun was marked for plural in about 33
percent of cases in all conditions.
(167) Proportion of plural marking on Noun 1 and Noun 2 in Experiment 3
There were significantly more plurals marked on the second noun in the SP and
PP conditions, compared to the SS and PS conditions (X 2 (3) = 161, p < 0.001).
Likewise, there were significantly more plurals marked on the first noun in the PS
and PP conditions compared to the other two (X 2 (3) = 101, p < 0.001). The figure
in (168) shows the proportion of plural marking on the first noun (N1-Pl) and second
noun (N2-Pl).
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(168) Proportion of plural marking on Noun 1, Noun 2 and Verb across conditions
in Experiment 3
Over 95 percent of the experimental responses were verb-final. And, there was no
significant difference in plural marking on verbs (X 2 (2) = 0.8, p < 1) by condition.
Table 5.5 shows the numbers and proportions of plural marking co-occurring
on the first noun, second noun and verb in the SS (singular-singular) condition of
Experiment 3. The row in bold-faced type is the Yucatec translation that would be
completely faithful to the Spanish stimulus, with the first noun singular (no plural
marker), second noun singular (no plural marker) and verb plural. The Spanishfaithful responses make up over 90 percent of the responses for the SS condition.
In the SP (singular-plural) condition, as shown in Table 5.6, about sixty percent
of the responses were faithful to the Spanish stimulus, with the first noun singular
(no plural), the second noun plural marked and the verb also marked for plural,
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Table 5.5: Plural marking
N1 N2 V
no no no
no no yes
no yes no
no yes yes
yes no no
yes no yes
yes yes no
yes yes yes
on N1, N2 and V in SS Condition
(Number) Proportion
(9) 0.064
(129) 0.915
(1) 0.007
(2) 0.014
(0) 0.000
(0) 0.000
(0) 0.000
(0) 0.000
shown in the row in bold-faced type. Interestingly, in this condition, participants
were less faithful to the Spanish stimulus. About thirty percent of the responses
left both nouns unmarked for plural with plural marking on the verb. As discussed
earlier, a noun in Yucatec Maya that is not marked with the plural morpheme can
still be interpreted as referring to a plurality. A number of the responses in this
condition were in what we could call an “underspecification” strategy.
Table 5.6: Plural marking
N1 N2 V
no no no
no no yes
no yes no
no yes yes
yes no no
yes no yes
yes yes no
yes yes yes
on N1, N2 and V in SP Condition
(Number) Proportion
(3) 0.023
(38) 0.297
(4) 0.031
(78) 0.609
(1) 0.008
(2) 0.016
(0) 0.000
(2) 0.016
In the PS (plural-singular) condition, shown in Table 5.7, the response that was
maximally faithful to the Spanish stimulus is first noun plural, second noun singular
(no plural morpheme), verb plural. Unlike in the SS and SP conditions, the Spanish-
152
faithful response comprised under 15 percent of the responses in this condition. In
the PS condition, participants were very unlikely to be faithful to the Spanish stimulus. Almost fifty percent of the responses used the “underspecification” strategy,
with neither of the two nouns marked for plural, with the verb marked for plural
as well. Interestingly, about twenty percent of the responses left the first noun unmarked for plural, while the second noun took the plural morpheme, and the verb
also showed plural marking. Finally, close to ten percent of the responses had plural
marked on both of the nouns and on the verb as well.
Table 5.7: Plural marking
N1 N2 V
no no no
no no yes
no yes no
no yes yes
yes no no
yes no yes
yes yes no
yes yes yes
on N1, N2 and V in PS Condition
(Number) Proportion
(7) 0.053
(62) 0.473
(2) 0.015
(26) 0.198
(2) 0.015
(19) 0.145
(1) 0.008
(12) 0.092
I also coded the use of the noun phrase-final distal deictic particle -o’. The use
of this particle was common in the experiment, and, based on the data presented in
Chapter 2, it is a particle which marks the end of the DP. Thus, the distal dectic
particle may have been used as a strategy by participants to demarcate nouns of
the conjunct which had differing number values. Out of the 406 responses that
were included in the analyses, only 18 of those had no phrase-final -o’ particle (and
many of those responses had two nouns that were Spanish borrowings). Table 5.8
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shows the numbers and proportions of use of the phrase-final distal deictic particle
-o’ following the first noun and second noun for the SS condition.
Table 5.8: Phrase-final
N1 N2
no no
yes no
no yes
yes yes
deictic particle use in SS condition
(Number) Proportion
(8) 0.057
(7) 0.050
(101) 0.716
(25) 0.177
In the SP condition, shown in Table 5.9, phrase-final deictic particle use is similar
to the use of the deictic particle in the SS condition. The use of the phrase-final
deictic particle after the second noun but not the first was around seventy percent.
The use of the deictic particle on both the first and second nouns was around 18
percent in the SS condition and 24 percent in the SP condition. Other distributions
were around 10 percent or less.
Table 5.9: Phrase-final
N1 N2
no no
yes no
no yes
yes yes
deictic particle use in SP condition
(Number) Proportion
(5) 0.039
(1) 0.008
(91) 0.711
(31) 0.242
Table 5.10 shows the proportions of use of the distal deictic phrase-final particle
in the PS condition, the condition which was dramatically less faithful to the Spanish stimulus than SS and SP. Unlike in the SS and SP conditions, the proportion of
marking of the first noun with the phrase-final particle in the PS was much more
frequent (over 35 percent) compared to the SS and SP conditions (around 20 per-
154
cent). In addition, the use of the phrase-final particle after the second noun but not
the first was slightly less in the PS condition compared to the other conditions.
Table 5.10: Phrase-final
N1 N2
no no
yes no
no yes
yes yes
deictic particle use in PS condition
(Number) Proportion
(5) 0.038
(4) 0.031
(75) 0.573
(47) 0.359
Examining the use of the phrase-final particle has revealed a tendency to mark
each noun of the conjunct with the phrase-final marker, presumably as an alternate
strategy to marking plural on the first linear noun of the conjunct. This result is
somewhat curious and requires additional future research.
5.3.6 Discussion
The results of Experiment 3 confirm the predictions of the DP-adjoined hypothesis
presented in Chapter 2. Plural marking was significantly more likely after the second
noun of the conjunct across conditions. That is to say that even when hearing a
Spanish stimulus sentence in which the first linear noun was plural and the second
singular, participants preferred to place the plural morpheme after the second linear
noun. This supports the idea that the plural marker in the DP is adjoined high, to
the highest DP.
In fact, participants employed a variety of strategies for dealing with PS stimuli.
The underspecification strategy was used in the PS condition in about 45 percent of
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cases. The strategy in which participants simply marked the plural after the second
linear noun was used in about 20 percent of the responses. The strategy in which
participants marked both the first and second nouns with the plural appeared in
about 10 percent of the responses. Responses which were faithful to the Spanish
stimulus make up only about 15 percent of responses here. This means that if
there is morphosyntactic persistence in a translation task such as this, as discussed
in Chapter 4, then the effect was overridden by some aspect of Yucatec grammar
which showed a stronger influence. I argue that participants were not highly affected
by morphosyntactic persistence in the relevant conditions due to the representation
of the nominal plural morpheme -o’ob as adjoined to the DP.
In addition to finding experimental support for the DP-adjoined hypothesis in
Yucatec Maya, there was another strategy that emerged from the data. When the
first linear noun in the Spanish stimulus was plural, the participant was more likely
to mark the first linear noun with the phrase-final particle, a curious result which
requires addition research.
Now that the DP-adjoined nominal plural hypothesis finds support in the results
of Experiment 3, I present Experiment 4 which was tests the predictions of the C-toT number feature inheritance hypothesis for DP-initial versus verb-initial sentences
in Yucatec.
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5.4 Experiment 4: Constituent order and plural marking
In Experiments 1 and 2, number agreement on the verb appeared to be nearly
obligatory, or at least significantly preferred, with the exception of cases in which a
DP contained a numeral. And, the analysis presented in Chapter 3 proposes that
number agreement is mediated by an Agree relation in SV sentences but not in VS
sentences in Yucatec. In this experiment, I manipulate the order of presentation of
an intransitive verb and conjoined noun phrase in the Spanish stimuli in a translation
task. The C-to-T inheritance analysis of SV intransitive imperfective sentences in
Yucatec predicts that number agreement is required by an uninterpretable number
feature on C0 which is then inherited by T0 (Chomsky, 2008). The probe on T0
searches its domain for a matching interpretable valued number feature (Chomsky,
2001). The analysis of VS intransitive imperfective sentences in Yucatec, however,
involves no probe for number features on T0 . This analysis predicts that number
agreement is obligatory in SV clauses but not in VS. In this experiment, we expect to
see significantly less plural marking on verb-initial translations compared to subjectinitial ones, unless there is an effect of morphosyntactic priming, which predicts that
SV and VS translations will be marked for plural equally as much.
5.4.1 Participants
Twenty-seven native speakers of Yucatec Maya bilingual in Spanish participated in
the experiment and were compensated 25 Mexican pesos (about 2 U.S. dollars) for
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their participation in February of 2011. There were fourteen females and thirteen
males between the ages of 19 and 26 who participated. This experiment was carried
out in a sound proof recording room at the University of the Orient in Valladolid,
Yucatán, México. Two of the participants were run in an unoccupied computer lab
at the university due to the unavailability of the recording room.4
5.4.2 Materials
Like Experiments 1 and 3, Experiment 4 was a translation task which presented
stimulus sentences in Spanish from the speech synthesized voice of Alberto, a synR
thesized male Latin American Spanish voice from AT&T Labs Natural Voices
text-to-speech project. The stimuli varied as to order of presentation of an intransitive verb and conjoined subject noun phrase. For an abbreviation, I use the
convention VS to refer to predicate-initial clauses, while I used the convention SV to
refer to predicate-final clauses. A more precise syntactic portrayal of the structures
of these different clauses, as outlined in Chapter 3, is shown in (169) and (170)
below.
(169) SV: [CP S [T P T-φ [DP V ] ] ]
(170) VS: [T P T [DP V S ] ]
4
Some of the participants in Experiment 4 also participated in Experiment 2, the picture description experiment. Due to the different tasks, translation versus picture description, I don’t
anticipate priming from one experiment to another, though both experiments looked at plural
marking.
158
The Spanish stimuli were presented either as verb-initial with a singular noun
followed by a plural noun in a conjoined noun phrase (VSP), as verb-initial with
a plural noun followed by a singular noun in a conjoined noun phrase (VPS), as
verb-final with a singular noun followed by a plural noun in a conjoined noun phrase
(SPV), or as verb-final with a plural noun followed by a singular noun in a conjoined
noun phrase (PSV). The stimuli were devised to also test for any effect of closest
conjunct agreement in the language. The table in (171) lists the conditions with
example stimuli in Spanish and potential responses in Yucatec Maya.5
Table 5.11: Experiment 4 conditions
Cond. Spanish stimulus
VSP
EstánP L caminando
Are walking
VPS
EstánP L cantando
Are singing
SPV
La viejaSG y los bebésP L
The old lady and the babies
PSV
Los viejosP L y el campesinoSG
The old men and the farmer
Potential
Yucatec response
VSP
Tun ximbal(-o’ob)
prog.a3 walk(pl)
VPS
Tun k’aay(-o’ob)
prog.a3 sing(-pl)
SPV
Le chiich yéetel le champal(-o’ob)-o’
The old.lady and the baby(-pl)-d2
PSV
Le úuchben(-o’ob) yéetel le kolnal-o’
The old.man(-pl) and the farmer-d2
5
and potential responses
el muchachoSG y los hombresP L
the boy and the men
las mujeresP L y la muchachaSG
the women and the girl
estánP L durmiendo
are sleeping
estánP L comiendo
are eating
le xi’ipal yéetel le maak(-o’ob)-o’
the boy and the person(pl)-d2
le ko’olel(-o’ob) yéetel le chúupal-o’
the woman(-pl) and the girl-d2
tun wenel(-o’ob)
prog.a3 sleep(-pl)
tun janal(-o’ob)
are eating(-pl)
A complete list of the items used in Experiment 4 are available in Appendix D.
159
5.4.3 Procedure
Just as in the three previous experiments, participants completed a language background survey about their experiences with Yucatec Maya and Spanish growing up
and about their current usage of both languages. Participants were then seated in
a comfortable chair at a table in front of a MacBook Pro laptop with a 15 inch
screen or a Lenovo laptop with a 13 inch screen. They wore a Siemens headset
with a unidirectional microphone in order to present the stimuli and to record their
responses. The experiment was delivered with the ExBuilder experimental software,
developed at the University of Rochester. The participants were given oral instructions from the experimenter, and they also were able to read a set of instructions
in Spanish before beginning the experiment. The experiment included four practice
trials before the experiment began, and the participants were prompted on screen
to ask the experimenter if they had any questions before proceeding. Like the other
translation experiments, the Spanish stimuli (speech synthesized) were presented up
to three times. The participant could press the spacebar after hearing the stimulus
the first time in order to proceed to the recording of the translation. Alternatively,
the participant could listen to the stimulus up to a total of three times. The participant had 15 seconds to record their response. There was a timebar indicating
to the participant how much time was remaining before the experiment automatically proceeded to the next trial. The participant was allowed to press the spacebar
after saying their response but before the 15 seconds were up in order to proceed
160
more quickly to the next trial. The experiment took no longer than 30 minutes to
complete.
5.4.4 Results
Coding and inclusion criteria
Just as in Experiment 3, the responses to the experimental stimuli were coded by the
author for plural on the first noun, second noun and verb. Additionally, responses
were coded for the order of the three constituents, N1, N2 and V. Responses were
coded for whether the participant used a native Yucatec Maya word or a borrowing
from Spanish. Also, responses were coded for whether there was a phrase-final
particle after one or both of the nouns. Additionally the responses were coded for
whether there was a transitive verb with an object, and if so, if it was marked with
a plural morpheme. In some cases, where verbs were not marked with the plural
morpheme, they were transitive verbs with objects which had the plural morpheme
(e.g. make food -pl versus of cook -pl).
Out of 648 responses from all participants to all items, there were 100 responses
excluded for a total of 548 responses included in the analyses. Sixteen were excluded
because there was no response given. Fifteen were excluded because the author was
unsure of some aspect of the response, most likely due to fast or unclear speech.
Fourteen responses in which the verb was encoded as reflexive were excluded, just
in case these might be less likely to show plural marking. Fifty-five responses were
161
excluded because they did not include all three constituents, N1, N2 and V, in the
Yucatec translation.
Statistical analyses
The four conditions of the Spanish stimuli are summarized again in (171) below.
(171) Conditions in Experiment 4
• Noun 1 singular, Noun 2 plural, Verb plural (SPV)
• Noun 1 plural, Noun 2 singular, Verb plural (PSV)
• Verb plural, Noun 1 singular, Noun 2 plural (VSP)
• Verb plural, Noun 1 plural, Noun 2 singular (VPS)
The chart in (172) shows the overall proportion of plural marking on Noun 1 and
Noun 2 not yet taking into consideration the actual order produced in the Yucatec
responses, which varied and was not always faithful to the Spanish stimulus.
162
(172) Proportion of plural marking on Noun 1 and Noun 2 in Experiment 4
Table 5.12 shows the most frequent constituent orders, in all responses, collapsing
condition. It is interesting that over sixty percent of the responses were verb-final
SV (or N1-N2-V), while only fifty percent of the Spanish stimuli were in that order.
Likewise, only about thirty percent of all responses were verb-initial, when fifty
percent of the Spanish stimuli were presented in verb-initial order.
Table 5.12: Order of constituents in responses in Experiment 4
Order
(Number) Proportion
N1-N2-V (333) 0.607
V-N1-N2 (143) 0.261
N2-N1-V
(38) 0.069
V-N2-N1
(18) 0.033
N1-V-N2
(15) 0.027
N2-V-N1
(1) 0.002
As just alluded to, the order of constituents in the responses produced was varied
and did not always preserve the order of constituents presented in the Spanish
163
stimulus. The chart in (173) shows the order of the Yucatec responses given in each
condition.
(173) Order of constituents in responses to Experiment 4 by condition
The conditions in which the stimulus was verb-final (SPV and PSV) resulted
in over eighty percent of verb-final responses in Yucatec. However, the conditions
in which the stimulus was verb-initial (VSP and VPS) produced only verb-initial
responses at a rate of only about forty to fifty percent. About thirty two to thirtyfive percent of the VS stimuli in Spanish were changed to SV responses in Yucatec,
as shown in Table 5.13.
For verb-initial clauses of the Yucatec responses, Chi-squared tests revealed that
verbs were significantly less likely to be plural-marked (X 2 (1) = 68, p < 0.001)
than in verb-final clauses. The chart in (174) shows that only about 61 percent of
verb-initial verb phrases were plural-marked, while about 93 percent of verb-final
164
Table 5.13: Order of constituents across
Condition N1-N2-V
(Number) Proportion
SPV
(116) 0.823
PSV
(115) 0.827
VSP
(40) 0.333
VPS
(59) 0.418
conditions in Experiment 4
V-N1-N2
(Number) Proportion
(11) 0.078
(8) 0.058
(64) 0.533
(57) 0.404
verb phrases were plural-marked.
(174) Proportion of plural marking on verbs in Experiment 4
Because the two verb-final conditions of Experiment 4 were the same as two of
the conditions of Experiment 3, we can look at how well the results from Experiment
3 were replicated. The chart in (175) shows the proportions of plural marking on the
first and second noun of the conjoined noun phrase and on the verb in the SPV and
PSV conditions of Experiment 3 and Experiment 4. The results are quite similar.
In the SPV condition, plural marking on the first noun was less than 10 percent,
plural marking on the second noun was about sixty-five percent, and plural marking
165
on the verb was between eighty-five and ninety-five percent in both experiments. In
the PSV condition, plural marking on the first noun was between twenty-five and
forty percent, on the second noun between thirty and forty percent and on the verb
between ninety and ninety-five percent. These are very similar results demonstrating
the replicability of the results of these conditions across two experiments.
(175) Proportion of plural marking on Noun 1, Noun 2 and Verb in SPV and PVS
conditions of Exps. 3 and 4
5.4.5 Discussion
Experiment 4 showed that plural marking was significantly less likely on verb-initial
responses in Yucatec Maya translations from Spanish. The result that verb-initial
responses were significantly less likely than DP-initial responses to show covariant plural marking confirms the prediction of the C-to-T inheritance hypothesis
166
presented in Chapter 3. This analysis proposed that in verb-initial intransitive imperfective clauses, the aspect-mood particle is the main predicate in T0 which is
φ-deficient. There is no Agree for number between the full DP subject and verb
due to the absence of C0 (Chomsky, 2008). For DP-initial clauses, a DP with plural
morphology moves to the CP domain, triggered by a topic or focus feature. The
uninterpretable number feature on C0 then probes for a matching valued feature in
its domain (Chomsky, 2001).
In addition, the results of Experiment 4 replicated the results of Experiment 3
which showed the plural marking was preferred after the second linear noun, in other
words adjoined high to the DP. This is additional confirmation of the DP-adjoined
nominal plural hypothesis for Yucatec Maya. Just like in Experiment 3, the participants in Experiment 4 employed a number of strategies to process PS conjoined
noun phrases, showing that again, there was an incompatibility between faithfulness
to the Spanish stimulus and the syntax of the nominal plural marker in Yucatec.
The list in (176) outlines the strategies employed by participants when faced with
PS conditions, and the rates at which participants employed each strategy, which
were quite similar to the results of Experiment 3.
(176) Strategies for dealing with PS stimuli:
• 41.07 percent - Mark neither noun for plural (underspecification strategy)
• 21.07 percent - Mark the first noun plural and leave the second noun
unmarked for plural (Faithful to the Spanish stimulus)
167
• 17.14 percent - Mark plural after both nouns
• 14.64 percent - Change the order of the nouns to translate the nouns in
SP (singular-plural) linear order
• 6.08 percent - Other responses
Though the number marking asymmetry on verbs was predicted by the C-toT inheritance hypothesis, there are still a number of questions that remain. For
example, why did the Yucatec speakers change the order of VS stimuli in Spanish
to SV responses in Yucatec at a high rate? Why did word order not prime? I
discuss this question and tie in these results with other literature on agreement and
constituent order in the next section.
5.5 General Discussion
Experiment 3 provided experimental support for the DP-adjoined nominal plural
hypothesis for Yucatec Maya. The results were very intriguing. Given that morphosyntactic persistence can have such a significant effect on sentence production,
even across languages, the cases in which the responses of Yucatec speakers did not
look at all like the Spanish stimulus are very interesting. The Yucatec speakers’
responses did not look at all like the Spanish stimulus in conjoined noun phrases in
which the first linear noun was plural and the second singular, in both Experiments
3 and 4. In this case, the syntax of the nominal plural marker in Yucatec, being an
adjunct to DP rather than the head of the Number Phrase, was very much at odds
with a translation that replicated the stimulus, in which the plural marker occurred
168
on the first noun.
Nor did the Yucatec speakers’ responses look like the Spanish stimulus when the
verb was initial. Why did the Yucatec speakers change the order of VS stimuli in
Spanish to SV responses in Yucatec at a high rate? Why did word order not prime?
Even though Spanish VS sentences and Yucatec VS sentences may look similar on
the surface, the syntactic properties are much different. It is possible that the crosslanguage word order priming effect is more likely to occur when the underlying
syntactic structure is similar across the two languages. Verb-initial sentences in
Spanish have been argued to be the result of verb raising to T (or INFL) (Zagona,
2002). This analysis is based on the observation that in Spanish adverbs can appear
after verbs (e.g. Marı́a leyó frequentemente el libro., lit. Maria read frequently the
book.), just like in French, but in English they cannot (*Maria read frequently the
book.) (from (Zagona, 2002, 166). VS sentences in Yucatec lack φ-feature agreement
between T0 and the φ-feature bearing cross reference markers in the nominalized
complement clause, and neither the subject nor the verb undergo movement under
my proposal of the structure of VS intransitive imperfective clauses, shown in (170).
In Spanish VS sentences, the verb moves to T, while the subject stays in situ in
the Spec of vP, (cf. Zagona (2002)). Thus, Yucatec and Spanish have different
structures for VS clauses, offering a potential explanation for the lack of word order
priming for VS sentences in translations from Spanish to Yucatec.
(177) Yucatec VS: [T P T [DP V S ] ]
169
(178) Spanish VS: [T P Tφ-Vi [vP S ti ] ]
SV sentences in Yucatec are the result of a full DP fronted to Spec-CP, as shown
in (179), while in Spanish, SV order is the result of both the subject moving to
Spec-TP and the verb moving to T0 , as shown in (180) (Zagona, 2002).
(179) Yucatec SV: [CP Si [T P T-φ [DP V ti ] ] ]
(180) Spanish SV: [T P Si [T P T-φ [vP ti V ] ] ]
Loebell and Bock (2003) found that syntactic priming did not show a significant
effect in cross-language priming between German and English passives. Though in
the two languages both sentences were passive “structures,” the underlying syntax
is not the same (not to mention the surface word order even, since the German
passives were verb-initial). The Yucatec results can shed light on the nature of such
syntactic priming, in showing that it fails to obtain when the structures of the two
languages were quite different. The Yucatec plural is in DP, while the Spanish plural
is in NumP. VS sentences in Yucatec are not the result of φ-agreement, nor do they
involve movement to T. In Spanish, VS clauses involve φ-agreement and are the
result of the verb and raising to T.
This is not the first experimental study to examine the role of constituent order
in number agreement. Franck et al. (2006) in a number of experiments on French
and Italian test the prediction that agreement involves two operations, Agree and
Move. They found that postverbal subject modifiers in Italian do not show number
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attraction errors in VS order, while in preverbal SV order they do.6 Additionally,
they found that preverbal object clitics showed stronger number attraction than
postverbal subject modifiers in French. They take these results as support for the
idea that agreement computation may involve one or both of these two steps. In
French and Italian VS orders, they argue, agreement computation involves only
Agree, but in SV orders, agreement computation involves both Agree and Move. In
Yucatec, however, I have proposed that there is no agreement between T0 and the
φ-feature bearing cross reference markers in the nominalized clausal complement.
With the fronting of a full DP for topic or focus to the CP-domain, the relevant
uninterpretable φ-features are present on C0 and inherited by T0 , which then probes
its domain in the Agree operation for number. This is a potential explanation for
the experimental result that number agreement was less likely on verb-initial clauses
than DP-initial ones.
The underlying syntactic differences pointed out in this thesis, the DP-adjoined
syntax of the nominal plural marker and number agreement relating to movement
to the CP domain in Yucatec Maya offer a promising potential explanation for the
lack of morphosyntactic persistence in certain conditions and for the lack of word
order priming for VS sentences in translations from Spanish to Yucatec. In addition,
these observations provide good arguments for pursuing an analysis of the underlying
6
Vigliocco and Nicol (1998) found an effect of agreement attraction in English Subject-Auxiliary
inverted questions, like Was/were the helicopter for the flights safe?. Franck et al. (2006) explain
this divergence by positing that an intermediate level of representation is relevant, in which the
modifier intervenes between the head noun and the verb, before movement.
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syntactic nature of cross-linguistic variation despite what may look like structural
similarity on the surface.
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CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSION
In this dissertation, I have argued for an analysis of the nominal plural marker
in Yucatec Maya as adjoined to the Determiner Phrase based on distributional,
interpretational, and experimental data. I showed that the DP-adjoined plural in
Yucatec Maya fits into the typology of the syntax of plural marking proposed by
Wiltschko (2008). In Yucatec Maya, the plural marker is not obligatory for plural
interpretation, nor is number agreement obligatory inside the DP or in verb-initial
clauses. The plural marker cannot occur between nouns of a compound or inside
of derivational morphology. It cannot occur on a prenominal adjective, but it can
occur on an adjective that is postnominal. Moreover, the presence of the plural
marker results in a specific interpretation. Additionally, the plural marker, since
it is adjoined to the DP, can modify either or both nouns of a conjoined DP, or
the conjunct as a whole. Experiment 3, which was presented in Chapter 5, tested
the prediction of the DP-adjoined plural hypothesis against the morphosyntactic
persistence hypothesis in an experimental translation task with conjoined nouns
and an intransitive verb. In the conditions in which the plural marker was on the
first noun of the conjunct in the Spanish stimulus, participants were not as likely to
use the morphosyntactic persistence strategy, which would predict the use of plurals
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to be used where they occurred in the Spanish stimulus sentences. These otherwise
curious results can be explained by the differences between syntax of the plural
morphemes in the two languages. The plural marker in Spanish heads a NumP,
while the plural marker in Yucatec is adjoined to to the DP.
In addition, I presented the results of Experiments 1 and 2 in Chapter 4. These
experiments provided support with real-time language production experiments for
the proposal that the plural marker is a modificational adjunct to the DP in Yucatec
Maya. Experiments 1 and 2 also compared the translation method to the picture
description method to reveal a higher overall rate of plural marking in the translation
task. In the translation task and the picture description task, however, the same
pattern emerged across conditions. Plural marking was less likey when a numeral
and classifier was used, which provided the semantic number information rendering
plural marking redundant.
In Chapter 3, I presented an analysis of intransitive imperfective sentences in
verb-initial and DP-initial orders in Yucatec Maya. I argued that 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 full DP and verb due to the absence
of C0 (Chomsky, 2008). For DP-initial clauses, a DP with plural morphology has
moved to the CP domain, triggered by a topic or focus feature. The uninterpretable
number feature on C0 is then inherited by T0 (Chomsky, 2008), and T0 probes its
domain for a matching interpretable valued feature according to the mechanics of
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the Agree operation (Chomsky, 2001). This proposal predicts asymmetric number
agreement in Yucatec Maya. The results of Experiment 4 presented in Chapter 5,
confirmed this hypothesis. Verb-initial clauses were significantly less likely to be
marked with plural morphology than verb-final clauses.
This dissertation has been an in-depth look at number marking in the nominal and verbal domains in Yucatec Maya. It has provided a formal theoretical
analysis of plural marking in the nominal domain and of asymmetric number agreement in intransitive imperfective verb-initial and DP-initial clauses. It has extended
these analyses to investigate the role of language-particular syntax in the domain of
sentence processing. The syntax of the plural marker as adjoined to the DP was reflected in the lack of morphosyntactic persistence effect in the PluralN1-SingularN2
condition of Experiment 3. In addition, the results of Experiment 4 confirmed the
predictions of the proposal that C-to-T inheritance of number features is responsible
for number agreement in DP-initial clauses, while in verb-initial clauses, T0 is deficient, and there is no Agree operation for number. I hope to have shown that both
of these methodologies are important, and in fact, they are in some ways, flip sides
of the same coin...a coin which might be called theoretically-informed field-based
psycholinguistic research.
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APPENDIX A
EXPERIMENT 1 STIMULI
Experiment 1: Optionality of plural marking in translation
A.1 Singular Condition Items
1. La mujer está cocinando. - The woman is cooking.
2. El hombre esá trabajando. - The man is working.
3. El bebé esá llorando. - The baby is crying.
4. El muchacho esá jugando. - The boy is playing.
5. La muchacha esá cosiendo. - The girl is sewing.
6. El soldado esá luchando. - The soldier is fighting.
7. El visitante esá llegando. - The visitor is arriving.
8. La enfermera esá saliendo. - The nurse is leaving.
9. El estudiante esá leyendo. - The student is reading.
10. El jefe esá bebiendo. - The boss is drinking.
11. El monja esá rogando. - The monk is praying.
12. El maestro esá hablando. - The teacher is talking.
13. El campesino esá fumando. - The farmer is smoking.
14. El viejito esá roncando. - The old man is snoring.
15. La viejita esá paseando. - The old woman is passing by.
16. El doctor esá pensando. - The doctor is thinking.
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17. La vaca esá caminando. - The cow is walking.
18. El cochino esá sombrando. - The pig is lying in the shade.
19. La rana esá saltando. - The frog is jumping.
20. El mosquito esá picando. - The fly is biting.
21. La tortuga esá buceando. - The turtle is diving.
22. El perro esá ladrando. - The dog is barking.
23. La iguana esá soleando. - The iguana is sun-bathing.
24. El gato esá durmiendo. - The cat is sleeping.
25. La gallina esá comiendo. - The chicken is eating.
26. El jaguar esá cazando. - The jaguar is hunting.
27. El pez esá nadando. - The fish is swimming.
28. El conejo esá corriendo. - The rabbit is running.
29. El lorito esá cantando. - The parrot is singing,
30. El caballo esá descansando. - The horse is resting.
A.2 “Two” Condition Items
1. Dos mujeres están cocinando. - Two women are cooking.
2. Dos hombres esán trabajando. - Two men are working.
3. Dos bebés esán llorando. - Two babies are crying.
4. Dos muchachos esán jugando. - Two boys are playing.
5. Dos muchachas esán cosiendo. - Two girls are sewing.
6. Dos soldados esán luchando. - Two soldiers are fighting.
7. Dos visitantes esán llegando. - Two visitors are arriving.
8. Dos enfermeras esán saliendo. - Two nurses are leaving.
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9. Dos estudiantes esán leyendo. - Two students are reading.
10. Dos jefes esán bebiendo. - Two bosses are drinking.
11. Dos monjas esán rogando. - Two monks are praying.
12. Dos maestros esán hablando. - Two teachers are talking.
13. Dos campesinos esán fumando. - Two farmers are smoking.
14. Dos viejitos esán roncando. - Two old men are snoring.
15. Dos viejitas esán paseando. - Two old women are passing by.
16. Dos doctores esán pensando. - Two doctors are thinking.
17. Dos vacas esán caminando. - Two cows are walking.
18. Dos cochinos esán sombrando. - Two pigs are lying in the shade.
19. Dos ranas esán saltando. - Two frogs are jumping.
20. Dos mosquitos esán picando. - Two flies are biting.
21. Dos tortugas esán buceando. - Two turtles are diving.
22. Dos perros esán ladrando. - Two dogs are barking.
23. Dos iguanas esán soleando. - Two iguanas are sun-bathing.
24. Dos gatos esán durmiendo. - Two cats are sleeping.
25. Dos gallinas esán comiendo. - Two chickens are eating.
26. Dos jaguares esán cazando. - Two jaguars are hunting.
27. Dos peces esán nadando. - Two fish are swimming.
28. Dos conejos esán corriendo. - Two rabbits are running.
29. Dos loritos esán cantando. - Two parrots are singing,
30. Dos caballos esán descansando. - Two horses are resting.
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A.3 Plural Condition Items
1. Las mujeres están cocinando. - The women are cooking.
2. Los hombres esán trabajando. - The men are working.
3. Los bebés esán llorando. - The babies are crying.
4. Los muchachos esán jugando. - The boys are playing.
5. Las muchachas esán cosiendo. - The girls are sewing.
6. Los soldados esán luchando. - The soldiers are fighting.
7. Los visitantes esán llegando. - The visitors are arriving.
8. Las enfermeras esán saliendo. - The nurses are leaving.
9. Los estudiantes esán leyendo. - The students are reading.
10. Los jefes esán bebiendo. - The bosses are drinking.
11. Los monjas esán rogando. - The monks are praying.
12. Los maestros esán hablando. - The teachers are talking.
13. Los campesinos esán fumando. - The farmers are smoking.
14. Los viejitos esán roncando. - The old men are snoring.
15. Las viejitas esán paseando. - The old women are passing by.
16. Los doctores esán pensando. - The doctors are thinking.
17. Los vacas esán caminando. - The cows are walking.
18. Los cochinos esán sombrando. - The pigs are lying in the shade.
19. Las ranas esán saltando. - The frogs are jumping.
20. Los mosquitos esán picando. - The flies are biting.
21. Las tortugas esán buceando. - The turtles are diving.
22. Los perros esán ladrando. - The dogs are barking.
23. Las iguanas esán soleando. - The iguanas are sun-bathing.
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24. Los gatos esán durmiendo. - The cats are sleeping.
25. Las gallinas esán comiendo. - The chickens are eating.
26. Los jaguares esán cazando. - The jaguars are hunting.
27. Los peces esán nadando. - The fish are swimming.
28. Los conejos esán corriendo. - The rabbits are running.
29. Los loritos esán cantando. - The parrots are singing,
30. Los caballos esán descansando. - The horses are resting.
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APPENDIX B
EXPERIMENT 2 STIMULI
Experiment 2: Optionality of plural marking in picture description
B.1 One Condition Items
1. Target: The baby is crying.
2. Target: The boy is swimming.
3. Target: The girl is sweeping.
4. Target: The girl is drinking.
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5. Target: The man is diving.
6. Target: The man is yelling.
7. Target: The woman is dancing.
8. Target: The boy is studying.
9. Target: The person is fishing.
10. Target: The woman is talking.
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11. Target: The man is smoking.
12. Target: The bird is flying.
13. Target: The cat is sleeping.
14. Target: The chicken is running.
15. Target: The dog is barking.
16. Target: The frog is jumping.
17. Target: The horse is running.
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18. Target: The jaguar is growling.
19. Target: The monkey is eating.
20. Target: The mosquito is biting.
21. Target: The rabbit is jumping.
22. Target: The snake is emerging.
23. Target: The spider is hanging.
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B.2 Two Condition Items
1. Target: Two babies are crying.
2. Target: Two boys are swimming.
3. Target: Two girls are sweeping.
4. Target: Two girls are drinking.
5. Target: Two men are diving.
6. Target: Two men are yelling.
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7. Target: Two women are dancing.
8. Target: Two boys are studying.
9. Target: Two people are fishing.
10. Target: Two women are talking.
11. Target: Two men are smoking.
12. Target: Two birds are flying.
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13. Target: Two cats are sleeping.
14. Target: Two chickens are running.
15. Target: Two dogs are barking.
16. Target: Two frogs are jumping.
17. Target: Two horses are running.
18. Target: Two jaguars are growling.
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19. Target: Two monkeys are eating.
20. Target: Two mosquitos are biting.
21. Target: Two rabbits are jumping.
22. Target: Two snakes are emerging.
23. Target: Two spiders are hanging.
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B.3 Seven (many) Condition Items
1. Target: The babies are crying.
2. Target: The boys are swimming.
3. Target: The girls are sweeping.
4. Target: The girls are drinking.
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5. Target: The men are diving.
6. Target: The men are yelling.
7. Target: The women are dancing.
8. Target: The boys are studying.
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9. Target: The people are fishing.
10. Target: The women are talking.
11. Target: The men are smoking.
12. Target: The birds are flying.
13. Target: The cats are sleeping.
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14. Target: The chickens are running.
15. Target: The dogs are barking.
16. Target: The frogs are jumping.
17. Target: The horses are running.
18. Target: The jaguars are growling.
192
19. Target: The monkeys are eating.
20. Target: The mosquitos are biting.
21. Target: The rabbits are jumping.
22. Target: The snakes are emerging.
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23. Target: The spiders are hanging.
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APPENDIX C
EXPERIMENT 3 STIMULI
Experiment 3: Constituency in nominal plural marking
C.1 Singular-Singular Condition Items
1. La mujer y la muchacha están cocinando.
The woman and the girl are cooking.
2. El hombre y el muchacho están gritando.
The man and the boy are yelling.
3. El viejo y el campesino están hablando.
The old man and the farmer are talking.
4. La viejita y el bebé están saliendo.
The old woman and the baby are leaving.
5. La profesora y el estudiante están leyendo.
The professor and the student are reading.
6. El gato y el perro están masticando.
The cat and the dog are chewing.
7. La gallina y el pavo están comiendo.
The chicken and the turkey are eating.
8. El cochino y el caballo están corriendo.
The pig and the horse are running.
9. La serpiente y la rana están esperando.
The snake and the frog are waiting.
10. El águila y el grajo están volando.
The eagle and the crow are flying.
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11. El escarabajo y la hormiga están cavando.
The beetle and the ant are digging.
12. El pez y la tortuga están nadando.
The fish and the turtle are swimming.
13. El jaguar y el zorro están cazando.
The jaguar and the fox are hunting.
14. El lorito y el tucán están cantando.
The parrot and the toucan are singing.
15. El mono y la ardilla están saltando.
The monkey and the squirrel are jumping.
16. La vaca y el burro están caminando.
The cow and the donkey are walking.
17. El venado y el lobo están durmiendo.
The deer and the wolf are sleeping.
18. La mariposa y la mosca están descansando.
The butterfly and the fly are resting.
C.2 Singular-Plural Condition Items
1. La mujer y las muchachas están cocinando.
The woman and the girls are cooking.
2. El hombre y los muchachos están gritando.
The man and the boys are yelling.
3. El viejo y los campesinos están hablando.
The old man and the farmers are talking.
4. La viejita y los bebés están saliendo.
The old woman and the babies are leaving.
5. La profesora y los estudiantes están leyendo.
The professor and the students are reading.
6. El gato y los perros están masticando.
The cat and the dogs are chewing.
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7. La gallina y los pavos están comiendo.
The chicken and the turkeys are eating.
8. El cochino y los caballos están corriendo.
The pig and the horses are running.
9. La serpiente y las ranas están esperando.
The snake and the frogs are waiting.
10. El águila y los grajos están volando.
The eagle and the crows are flying.
11. El escarabajo y las hormigas están cavando.
The beetle and the ants are digging.
12. El pez y las tortugas están nadando.
The fish and the turtles are swimming.
13. El jaguar y los zorros están cazando.
The jaguar and the foxes are hunting.
14. El lorito y los tucánes están cantando.
The parrot and the toucans are singing.
15. El mono y las ardillas están saltando.
The monkey and the squirrels are jumping.
16. La vaca y los burros están caminando.
The cow and the donkeys are walking.
17. El venado y los lobos están durmiendo.
The deer and the wolves are sleeping.
18. La mariposa y las moscas están descansando.
The butterfly and the flies are resting.
C.3 Plural-Singular Condition Items
1. Las mujeres y la muchacha están cocinando.
The women and the girl are cooking.
2. Los hombres y el muchacho están gritando.
The men and the boy are yelling.
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3. Los viejos y el campesino están hablando.
The old men and the farmer are talking.
4. Las viejitas y el bebé están saliendo.
The old women and the baby are leaving.
5. Las profesoras y el estudiante están leyendo.
The professors and the student are reading.
6. Los gatos y el perro están masticando.
The cats and the dog are chewing.
7. Las gallinas y el pavo están comiendo.
The chickens and the turkey are eating.
8. Los cochinos y el caballo están corriendo.
The pigs and the horse are running.
9. Las serpientes y la rana están esperando.
The snakes and the frog are waiting.
10. Los águilas y el grajo están volando.
The eagles and the crow are flying.
11. Los escarabajos y la hormiga están cavando.
The beetles and the ant are digging.
12. Los peces y la tortuga están nadando.
The fish (plural) and the turtle are swimming.
13. Los jaguares y el zorro están cazando.
The jaguars and the fox are hunting.
14. Los loritos y el tucán están cantando.
The parrots and the toucan are singing.
15. Los monos y la ardilla están saltando.
The monkeys and the squirrel are jumping.
16. Las vacas y el burro están caminando.
The cows and the donkey are walking.
17. Los venados y el lobo están durmiendo.
The deer (plural) and the wolf are sleeping.
18. Las mariposas y la mosca están descansando.
The butterflies and the fly are resting.
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C.4 Plural-Plural Condition Items
1. Las mujeres y las muchachas están cocinando.
The women and the girls are cooking.
2. Los hombres y los muchachos están gritando.
The men and the boys are yelling.
3. Los viejos y los campesinos están hablando.
The old men and the farmers are talking.
4. Las viejitas y los bebés están saliendo.
The old women and the babies are leaving.
5. Las profesoras y los estudiantes están leyendo.
The professors and the students are reading.
6. Los gato y los perros están masticando.
The cats and the dogs are chewing.
7. Las gallinas y los pavos están comiendo.
The chickens and the turkeys are eating.
8. Los cochinos y los caballos están corriendo.
The pigs and the horses are running.
9. Las serpientes y las ranas están esperando.
The snakes and the frogs are waiting.
10. Los águilas y los grajos están volando.
The eagles and the crows are flying.
11. Los escarabajos y las hormigas están cavando.
The beetles and the ants are digging.
12. Los peces y las tortugas están nadando.
The fish (plural) and the turtles are swimming.
13. Los jaguares y los zorros están cazando.
The jaguars and the foxes are hunting.
14. Los loritos y los tucánes están cantando.
The parrot sand the toucans are singing.
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15. Los monos y las ardillas están saltando.
The monkeys and the squirrels are jumping.
16. Las vacas y los burros están caminando.
The cows and the donkeys are walking.
17. Los venados y los lobos están durmiendo.
The deer (plural) and the wolves are sleeping.
18. Las mariposas y las moscas están descansando.
The butterflies and the flies are resting.
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APPENDIX D
EXPERIMENT 4 STIMULI
Experiment 4: Constituency in verbal plural marking
D.1 Singular-Plural-Verb Condition Items
1. La mujer y las muchachas están cocinando.
The woman and the girls are cooking.
2. El hombre y los muchachos están gritando.
The man and the boys are yelling.
3. El viejo y los campesinos están hablando.
The old man and the farmers are talking.
4. La profesora y los estudiantes están leyendo.
The professor and the students are reading.
5. La madre y los bebés están durmiendo.
The mother and the babies are sleeping.
6. El padre y las hermanas están rogando.
The father and the sisters are praying.
7. El jefe y los obreros están bebiendo.
The boss and the workers are drinking.
8. El doctor y las enfermeras están saliendo.
The doctor and the nurses are leaving.
9. La mesera y las viejitas están limpiando.
The waitress and the old ladies are cleaning.
10. El muchacho y las muchachas están silbando.
The boy and the girls are whistling.
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11. El cantor y los actores están celebrando.
The singer and the actors are celebrating.
12. El policı́a y los directores están llegando.
The police officer and the directors are arriving.
13. El perro y los gatos están masticando.
The dog and the cats are chewing.
14. La gallina y los pavos están comiendo.
The chicken and the turkeys are eating.
15. El cochino y los caballos están corriendo.
The pig and the horses are running.
16. El águila y los grajos están volando.
The eagle and the crows are flying.
17. La serpiente y las ranas están esperando.
The snake and the frogs are waiting.
18. El escarabajo y las hormigas están cavando.
The beetle and the ants are digging.
19. El pez y las tortugas están nadando.
The fish and the turtles are swimming.
20. El mono y las ardillas están saltando.
The monkey and the squirrels are jumping.
21. El jaguar y los zorros están cazando.
The jaguar and the foxes are hunting.
22. La mariposa y las moscas están descansando.
The butterfly and the flies are resting.
23. El venado y los ratónes están caminando.
The deer and the mice are walking.
24. El buho y las arañas están mirando.
The owl and the spiders are watching.
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D.2 Plural-Singular-Verb Condition Items
1. Las mujeres y la muchacha están cocinando.
The women and the girl are cooking.
2. Los hombres y el muchacho están gritando.
The men and the boy are yelling.
3. Los viejoe y el campesino están hablando.
The old men and the farmer are talking.
4. Las profesoras y el estudiante están leyendo.
The professors and the student are reading.
5. Las madres y el bebé están durmiendo.
The mothers and the baby are sleeping.
6. Los padres y la hermana están rogando.
The fathers and the sister are praying.
7. Los jefes yel obrero están bebiendo.
The bosses and the worker are drinking.
8. Los doctores y la enfermera están saliendo.
The doctors and the nurse are leaving.
9. Las meseras y la viejita están limpiando.
The waitresses and the old lady are cleaning.
10. Los muchachos y la muchacha están silbando.
The boys and the girl are whistling.
11. Los cantores y el actor están celebrando.
The singers and the actor are celebrating.
12. Los policı́as y el director están llegando.
The police officers and the director are arriving.
13. Los perros y el gato están masticando.
The dogs and the cat are chewing.
14. Las gallinas y el pavo están comiendo.
The chickens and the turkey are eating.
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15. Los cochinos y el caballo están corriendo.
The pigs and the horse are running.
16. Los águilas y el grajo están volando.
The eagles and the crow are flying.
17. Las serpientes y la rana están esperando.
The snakes and the frog are waiting.
18. Los escarabajos y la hormiga están cavando.
The beetles and the ant are digging.
19. Los peces y la tortuga están nadando.
The fish (plural) and the turtle are swimming.
20. Los monos y la ardilla están saltando.
The monkeys and the squirrel are jumping.
21. Los jaguares y el zorro están cazando.
The jaguars and the fox are hunting.
22. Las mariposas y la mosca están descansando.
The butterflies and the fly are resting.
23. Los venados y el ratón están caminando.
The deer and the mouse are walking.
24. Los buhos y la araña están mirando.
The owl and the spiders are watching.
D.3 Verb-Singular-Plural Condition Items
1. Están cocinando la mujer y las muchachas.
The woman and the girls are cooking.
2. Eestán gritando el hombre y los muchachos.
The man and the boys are yelling.
3. Están hablando el viejo y los campesinos.
The old man and the farmers are talking.
4. Están leyendo la profesora y los estudiantes.
The professor and the students are reading.
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5. Están durmiendo la madre y los bebés.
The mother and the babies are sleeping.
6. Están rogando el padre y las hermanas.
The father and the sisters are praying.
7. Están bebiendo el jefe y los obreros.
The boss and the workers are drinking.
8. Están saliendo el doctor y las enfermeras.
The doctor and the nurses are leaving.
9. Están limpiando la mesera y las viejitas.
The waitress and the old ladies are cleaning.
10. Están silbando el muchacho y las muchachas.
The boy and the girls are whistling.
11. Están celebrando el cantor y los actores.
The singer and the actors are celebrating.
12. Están llegando el policı́a y los directores.
The police officer and the directors are arriving.
13. Están masticando el perro y los gatos.
The dog and the cats are chewing.
14. Están comiendo la gallina y los pavos.
The chicken and the turkeys are eating.
15. Están corriendo el cochino y los caballos.
The pig and the horses are running.
16. Están volando el águila y los grajos.
The eagle and the crows are flying.
17. Están esperando la serpiente y las ranas.
The snake and the frogs are waiting.
18. Están cavando el escarabajo y las hormigas.
The beetle and the ants are digging.
19. Están nadando el pez y las tortugas.
The fish and the turtles are swimming.
20. Están saltando el mono y las ardillas.
The monkey and the squirrels are jumping.
205
21. Están cazando el jaguar y los zorros.
The jaguar and the foxes are hunting.
22. Están descansando la mariposa y las moscas.
The butterfly and the flies are resting.
23. Están caminando el venado y los ratónes.
The deer and the mice are walking.
24. Están mirando el buho y las arañas.
The owl and the spiders are watching.
D.4 Verb-Plural-Singular Condition Items
1. Están cocinando las mujeres y la muchacha.
The women and the girl are cooking.
2. Están gritando los hombres y el muchacho.
The men and the boy are yelling.
3. Están hablando los viejoe y el campesino.
The old men and the farmer are talking.
4. Están leyendo las profesoras y el estudiante.
The professors and the student are reading.
5. Están durmiendo las madres y el bebé.
The mothers and the baby are sleeping.
6. Están rogando los padres y la hermana.
The fathers and the sister are praying.
7. Están bebiendo los jefes yel obrero.
The bosses and the worker are drinking.
8. Están saliendo los doctores y la enfermera.
The doctors and the nurse are leaving.
9. Están limpiando las meseras y la viejita.
The waitresses and the old lady are cleaning.
10. Están silbando los muchachos y la muchacha.
The boys and the girl are whistling.
206
11. Están celebrando los cantores y el actor.
The singers and the actor are celebrating.
12. Están llegando los policı́as y el director.
The police officers and the director are arriving.
13. Están masticando los perros y el gato.
The dogs and the cat are chewing.
14. Están comiendo las gallinas y el pavo.
The chickens and the turkey are eating.
15. Están corriendo los cochinos y el caballo.
The pigs and the horse are running.
16. Están volando los águilas y el grajo.
The eagles and the crow are flying.
17. Están esperando las serpientes y la rana.
The snakes and the frog are waiting.
18. Están cavando los escarabajos y la hormiga.
The beetles and the ant are digging.
19. Están nadando los peces y la tortuga.
The fish (plural) and the turtle are swimming.
20. Están saltando los monos y la ardilla.
The monkeys and the squirrel are jumping.
21. Están cazando los jaguares y el zorro.
The jaguars and the fox are hunting.
22. Están descansando las mariposas y la mosca.
The butterflies and the fly are resting.
23. Están caminando los venados y el ratón.
The deer and the mouse are walking.
24. Están mirando los buhos y la araña.
The owl and the spiders are watching.
207
APPENDIX E
ACCEPTABILITY JUDGMENT STIMULI
Experiment 2: Optionality of plural marking in picture description
E.1 One-One Condition Items
1. The boy and the dog are running.
2. The cat and the bird are sleeping.
3. The farmer and the pig are walking.
4. The girl and the boy are playing.
208
E.2 One-Two/Many Condition Items
1. The dog and the cats are sleeping.
2. The man and the boys are swimming.
3. The man and the women are dancing.
4. The squirrel and the birds are eating.
E.3 Two/Many-One Condition Items
1. The boys and the girl are studying.
2. The girls and the boy are swimming.
209
3. The girls and the kitten are playing.
4. The turkeys and the horse are running.
5. The women and the man are talking.
E.4 Two/Many-Two/Many Condition Items
1. The boys and the girls are dancing.
2. The girls and the kittens are playing.
210
3. The pigs and the chickens are eating.
4. The rabbits and the frogs are jumping.
211
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