What Determiners can do: Data from Mopan Maya

Ellen Contini-Morava, Eve Danziger


The word class Determiners and the functional category D are often characterized as encoding definiteness, specificity and/or uniqueness (Chomeshi-Paul-Wiltschko 2009). In Mopan Maya (Yukatecan), the noun classifiers and article are not sensitive to definiteness, but rather help specify that the associated lexeme be treated as a nominal rather than a predicate. This need arises from Mopan's "omnipredicativity" (Launey 1994): nouns, adjectives, and stative predicates may carry the same affixes, a phenomenon attested in several other indigenous American languages (Mithun 1999) . We describe the syntactic, semantic, and discourse-pragmatic functions of Mopan determiners, and argue for broadening typological definitions of "Determiner".

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/exabs.v0i0.571