A Grammar of Mam, a Mayan Language

[ Latin American Studies ]

A Grammar of Mam, a Mayan Language

By Nora C. England

The first full-length reference grammar of Mam, a Mayan language spoken today in the western highlands of Guatemala and the state of Chiapas, Mexico.

1983

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Paperback

6 x 9 | 366 pp.

ISBN: 978-0-292-72927-8

This is the first full-length reference grammar of Mam, a Mayan language spoken today by over 400,000 people in the western highlands of Guatemala and the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The result of over three years of extensive fieldwork in Guatemala, A Grammar of Mam, a Mayan Language is based on the dialect of Mam spoken by 12,000 people in San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan in the department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala.

England organizes A Grammar of Mam according to two complementary principles: to analyze Mam following basically traditional levels of grammatical description and to present material in such a way that the background information necessary for understanding each topic of discussion shall have been previously provided. Accordingly, England's analysis of the sound system and morphophonemic processes of Mam is followed by a description of the characteristics of root, inflectional, and derivational morphology. Chapters on phrase structure precede two chapters on sentence-level syntax.

A Grammar of Mam is of particular interest in analyzing a Mayan language that is both syntactically and morphologically ergative and that is innovative in the direction of strengthening the ergative system. Indeed at all levels of linguistic organization Mam is innovative, and for this reason it is uniquely interesting both historically and theoretically.

Abbreviations Used in the Examples
Introduction
The Language and People
Research
Personnel
Previous Studies
Overview of the Grammar

1. Phonology
Phonemic Inventory
Phonemic Description
Summary of Phonological Processes
Stress
The Syllable
Juncture
Notes

2. Morphophonemics
Vowels
Glottals
Nasal Alternation

3. Roots and Words
Verbs
Nouns
Non-Verbal Predicates
Summary of Inflection
Positionals
Adjectives
Affect Words
Measure Words
Particles
Canonical Shape of Roots
Notes

4. Stem Formation
Verb Stems
Noun Stems
The Infinitive Stem
Adjective Stems
Affect Stems
Measure Stems
Derived Adverbial Stems
Stem Formation Through Vowel Length and Glottal Stop Addition
Review of Derivation
Notes

5. The Noun Phrase
The Structure of the Noun Phrase
Definiteness
Relational Noun Phrases
Pronominalization

6. The Verb Phrase
Aspect
Person
Directionals
Mode
Verb Stem
Structure of the Verb Phrase

7. Sentence Formation
Verbal Sentences
Non-Verbal Sentences
Negation
Question Formation
Coordination
Notes

8. Complex Sentences
Dependent Person Marking
Dependent Aspect Marking
Relative Clauses
Complement Clauses
Syntactic Clitics

Notes
Appendix I. Vowel Disharmonic Suffixes
Appendix II. Exceptions to Morphophonemic Rules
Appendix III. Text
Bibliography
Index

Nora C. England is Dallas TACA Centennial Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

"A splendid treatment of Mam . . . with many implications for comparative Mayan linguistics and general linguistic theory. The lucid and highly readable grammatical presentation makes the work of value to anthropologists and interested laymen, as well as linguists."