A compositional morphosemantic analysis of exclusivity in Ch'ol

Carol-Rose Little, Mia Wiegand


We argue that novel empirical generalizations on exclusive operators in Ch’ol (Mayan) provide strong evidence for a morphological decompositionality of exclusivity into a core semantic entry and focus sensitivity. There is a robust literature on exclusivity and the distributions of scalar particles in various languages (Beaver & Clark 2003, 2008; Orenstein & Greenberg 2010; Coppock & Beaver 2011a,b). Coppock & Beaver (2011a) argue that mere operates in a different domain (properties) than only (propositions). Recent work on focus constructions in Mayan languages include Yasavul (2013) for K’iche’ and AnderBois (2012) for Yucatec Maya. However, little work has been done on the variation among exclusives in morphologically rich languages like Ch’ol. Original data from fieldwork indicate that exclusivity can occur independently of focus marking, and when divorced from focus, the exclusive morpheme has a wider distribution and range of meanings.


semantics; exclusives; focus; Ch’ol; morphosemantics; Mayan

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4376

Copyright (c) 2018 Carol-Rose Little, Mia Wiegand

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