Chapter 10. Revisiting the source: Dependent verbs in Sierra Popoluca (Mixe-Zoquean)

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Boudreault, Lynda
dependent verb, Sierra Popoluca, Mixe-Zoquean, Mexico, corpus, text analysis, elicitation
book chapter description
Sierra Popoluca (SP) is a Mixe-Zoquean language, spoken by about 28,000 individuals in southern Veracruz, Mexico. The objectives of this paper are (1) to explore the structures of dependent verb constructions in SP and the contexts in which they occur and (2) to highlight the stages in which data is gathered and the interplay between text collection, elicitation, and analysis. SP is an ergative, polysynthetic, head-marking language. It has five dependent verb construction types. Early analyses suggested that dependent verbs were non-finite, nominalized forms. Further research indicated that the verbs are components in complex predicates that share inflection for aspect/mood, person, and number. Implicated in the analysis of these constructions are: the prosodic system; the alignment system, which is hierarchically driven with split ergativity; and the number system, also hierarchically driven. The teasing apart of the various grammatical features led to a multi-step process of analyzing and collecting data. By looking at a complex grammatical structure, this paper highlights the interdependency of corpus building, text analysis, and elicitation and the strategies used to negotiate between naturally occurring speech, in which data may be obscured by phonology, and elicited data, which frequently produces periphrastic constructions or alternative utterance types.

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