Grammatical properties of experiencers in Yucatec Maya
University of Erfurt
The organization of grammatical relations in Yucatec Maya is still an unsettled question. As regards coding properties, Yucatec Maya shows a split-intransitive system of argument marking, depending on overt aspect-mood marking on the verb. In incompletive aspect, S is marked like A, while in completive and subjunctive, S is marked like P. Behavioral properties, however, seem to point at a weakly pronounced S=A subject.
There are different patterns of experiencer coding in Yucatec Maya, the basic ones being possessor of a relational or body part noun, and main argument (S) of a stative predicate. Other patterns include A of transitive verbs, P with causative transitive verbs, S with intransitive verbs, G with some modals and some basic intransitive verbs.
It will be shown that, just as in Indo-European, Yucatec Mayan downgraded experiencers generally do not have access to syntactic pivothood (contrary to corresponding experiencers in some other languages/language families (e.g. Lezgian, Haspelmath 1993, 2001; Tibeto-Burman, Bickel 2001). Possessor experiencers may, however, function as controllers of equi-deletion in subordinated clauses, a feature that distinguishes them from canonical possessors. At the same time, there is no syntactic evidence that A and S experiencers behave differently from canonical A and S arguments in the language.
The paper presents a comprehensive account of the grammatical behavior of experiencers in Yucatec Maya and draws conclusions as to their grammatical prominence in the language.