Authored by: Gilles Polian

The Mayan Languages

Print publication date:  May  2017
Online publication date:  May  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415738026
eBook ISBN: 9781315192345
Adobe ISBN:


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Mayan languages are rich in morphology, both inflectional and derivational. They are synthetic, as they tend to aggregate several morphemes in words, especially verbs, and their morphology is mainly of the agglutinating type, i.e. consisting of roots and affixes easily segmentable, although non-concatenative morphological patterns also exist, like vowel alternation or reduplication. Inflectional morphology is particularly regular. For instance, verbal conjugations have almost no irregularity: most Mayan languages lack verbal inflection classes. 1 Finally, Mayan constructions strongly tend to be head-marked (Nichols 1986): syntactic relations are morphologically marked only on the syntactic head and not on the dependent constituent.

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