4692 - The acquisition of portmanteau pronouns in Huastec Maya

Huastec has been described as the Mayan language that diverges most in its structure from the rest of the Mayan language family. This fact can be confirmed by the analysis of a set of portmanteau pronouns that indicate the combination of agent and object of transitive verbs when the object is first or second person. The portmanteau pronouns can express either direct or indirect object. The paradigm of portmanteau pronouns is:

You (all)-me, you (all)-to me tin
He (they)-me, he (they)-to me tin
You (all)-us, you (all)-to us tu
He (they)-you (all), he (they)-to you (all) ti
I (we)-you (all), I (we)-to you (all) tu

In this presentation we will show how the following factors contribute to the acquisition of the portmanteau pronouns: marked objects (first and second persons); applicatives (-ch), the copula pel, and the position of the portmanteau pronouns in preverbal position.

I present longitudinal data of spontaneous speech of three children, from age 2,0 to 3;0.

I compare the children’s acquisition of the Huastec portmanteau pronouns with acquisition data for benefactive forms in Tzeltal and K’iche’ Maya to assess the impact of the portmanteau forms in Huastec.

Keywords: Language acquisition, Mayan languages, Huastec, Tzeltal, K'iche'

Author: Pye, Clifton (The University of Kansas, Ud States of Am / USA)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575