Chapter 2. Sociopragmatic influences on the development and use of the discourse marker vet in Ixil Maya

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Gómez de García, Jule; Axelrod, Melissa; Luz García, María
Ixil Maya; discourse marker; pragmatics; Guatemala
book chapter description
In this paper we explore the functions of the particle vet in Ixil Mayan and argue that it is a discourse marker used to perform both structural and pragmatic functions. Vet serves as a structural marker indicating temporally or causally interdependent items; it also has sociopragmatic functions, allowing speakers to present an evaluation of a discourse that invites interlocutors to also take a stance both on the information presented and on their roles in particular sociocultural activities. These functions of managing negotiations among interlocutors range from agreements on descriptive terms to calls for social action among entire groups, in all cases highlighting the social nature both of discourse and of group activity. The overlapping of the structural and pragmatic functions of vet demonstrates the grammaticalization cline ranging from adverb to discourse marker proposed by Traugott (1997). Our examination of vet in a range of genres produced by the Mujeres por la Paz of Nebaj, El Quiché, Guatemala, a cooperative formed in 1997 by Ixil Maya women who were widowed or left fatherless during the Guatemalan civil war, suggest that the effects of the individual and group identities and motivations of participants outweighs anticipated genre effects.