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- middle voice; reflexive; Yucatec Maya; speaker intuition
book chapter description
In this paper we provide a characterization of the middle construction in YM, and show that the apparently unpredictable distribution of middle voice in YM corresponds to a neatly identified, and quite limited, system of absolute events, i.e., events in which no energy is expended (Langacker 1987). This strategy is not exploited by other related Mayan languages, which tend to encode all absolute events as simple intransitive verbs. The semantic coherence of middle voice in YM is only discernible by combining analysis of narrative texts and direct elicitation with attention to speaker intuition in a variety of situational contrastive contexts guided by cognitive principles which are known to determine the behavior of middle voice systems in other languages.