What is Definite and what is not in South Eastern Wastek


  • Jonah Bates




definite article, left periphery, head movement, Mayan languages


This paper is a critical look at the glossing of the morpheme an as a definite article in a recently published corpus of the South Eastern dialect of Wastek Mayan, where it sometimes appears in contexts without corresponding nominals, without the semantics of definiteness, or in typologically marked word orders. Three structures involving an are considered: 1. an PREP1 NOUN word order, 2. post-topic an, and 3. subordinating an. This paper concludes that an is best separated into two different morphemes: its expected use as a definite article (with an ti NOUN order explained through D-to-P raising) and a clausal head in the left periphery. Further, evidence shows that both article and complementizer an have a clitic hosting allomorph n-. Finally, rather than positing a synchronic relationship between DP- and CP-dwelling an, they are claimed to have both descended from a Proto-Mayan demonstrative


How to Cite

Bates, . J. (2019). What is Definite and what is not in South Eastern Wastek. Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 40, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.17161/1808.29722