The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Syntax Square 9/27 - John Berman

Please join us Tuesday, when John Berman (one of our ling majors) will be presenting his work on Chol.

Speaker: John Berman
Location: 32-D461
Time: Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1-2p

In Chol Mayan, there are a variety of nominalizing suffixes in –Vl. One such suffix, –el, appears throughout the language in four apparently unrelated places – imperfectives of unaccusatives, derivations of unergatives and antipassives, and derivations of inalienable nouns. While –el is traditionally analyzed as a nominalizer in Mayan (Kaufman calls it a gerund), there have been no proposals to link its four Chol meanings together, nor have there been any explanations for its comparatively widespread distribution in Chol relative to other Mayan languages. I hope to answer these questions by providing a unified analysis of Chol –el as a little nº head used to nominalize nouns and verbs which take internal arguments. This proposal will draw upon and support claims that inalienable possessors are generated as internal arguments to their nouns.