The grammar of time reference
MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
This study provides an in-depth analysis of the morphosyntax, semantics, and pragmatics of the major grammatical constructions involved in time reference in Yukatek Maya, a native Meso-american language spoken on the peninsula of Yucatán.
The description traces temporal properties in clause structure, lexical predicate classes, verb inflection and derivation, adverbial modification, and clause and sentence combination, and thus covers a substantial part of the core grammar of the language. It gives one of the most comprehensive and detailed accounts of the expression of temporality in any Non-Indo-European language to date.Yukatek emerges as a language in which relations of event order are largely left unexpressed. There are no absolute or relative tenses, and no temporal connectives equivalent to after, before, etc. Communication about event order relies heavily on the coding of aspectual and modal information, enriched by pragmatic inferences from context and world knowledge. Further features of interest to typologists and time semanticists include 'phase' verbs (translating 'begin', 'end', etc.) with a semantics markedly distinct from those of phasal operators in better studied languages; lack of any formal reflexes of telicity; temporal connectives with aspectual meanings; and grammaticalized distinctions of 'degrees of remoteness' that are not combined with expressions of tense.
ISBN 9783895863455. LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 44. 512pp. 2002.