Verbal domain


This section delves into the verbal domain's intricacies, exploring phenomena tied to argument structure and its morphosyntactic manifestations. It examines the behavior of person markers, their co-indexation with arguments, valency-change operations, and syntactic traits that shed light on ergativity. A focal point of numerous studies is the 'agent-focus' construction, notably present in constructions like relativization, wh-questions, and focus movement. Its exact properties vary among different Mayan languages and have attracted significant scholarly attention in the syntactic research on Mayan.


Mike Berger

Universität Leipzig, Germany

Lauren Clemens

University at Albany, State University of New York, USA

Eve Danziger

University of Virginia, USA

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine

University of Helsinki, Finland; National University of Singapore, Singapore

Yusuke Imanishi

Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Pedro Mateo Pedro

University of Toronto, Canada

Barbara Stiebels

Universität Leipzig, Germany


The Restriction
against Non-finite Transitivity

by Mike Berger



ergativity, transitivity, (non-)finiteness, nominalization, selection, complementation


Beneath the surface:
word order in Mayan

by Lauren Clemens



V-initial orders: derivation and reordering; preverbal orders and extraction restrictions; explaining ergativity


Split intransitivity in Mayan,
with special reference to Mopan

by Eve Danziger



aspects and predicate classes (activities/change of states/states), set A/B markers, antipassive, Mopan and further Yucatecan


Kaqchikel Agent Focus
and multiple extraction

by Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine



Introducing Mayan Agent Focus, “anti-locality”-based account and counterarguments


Split ergativity
and nominalization in Mayan

by Yusuke Imanishi



split ergativity in Mayan, split ergativity and nominalization, variation in alignment and nominalization


The acquisition of ideophones and split ergativity in Chuj
by Pedro Mateo Pedro



ideophones, acquisition of ideophones, verb types, productivity, split ergative alignment


in Mayan agent focus

by Barbara Stiebels



agent focus, ergativity, ergative extraction constraint, voice, morphology-syntax mismatch, agreement, antipassive



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basic recommendations

Bohnemeyer, Jürgen. 2001. Argument and Event Structure in Yukatek Verb Classes. In J.-Y. Kim & A. Weerle (Eds.), The Proceedings of SULA: The Semantics of Under-Represented Languages in the Americas. Amherst, MA: GLSA. University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics 25, 8-19.
Coon, Jessica, Pedro Mateo Pedro, and Omer Preminger. 2014. The role of case in A-bar extraction asymmetries: Evidence from Mayan. Linguistic Variation 14, 179-242.
Danziger, Eve. 1996. Split Intransitivity and Active-Inactive Patterning in Mopan Maya. International Journal of American Linguistics 62(4), 379–414.
Grinevald, Colette and Marc Peake 2012. Ergativity and voice in Mayan languages: a functional-typological approach. In Authier, Gilles and Haude, Katharina. Ergativity, Valency and Voice, Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.
Erlewine, Michael Yoshitaka. 2016. Anti-locality and optimality in Kaqchikel Agent Focus. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 34(2), 429–479.
Imanishi, Yusuke. 2019. Parameterizing split ergativity in Mayan. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 38, 151-200.
Stiebels, Barbara. 2006. Agent Focus in Mayan languages. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 24, 501-570.
Tollan, Rebecca and Lauren Clemens. 2022.Syntactic Ergativity as a Constraint on Crossing Dependencies: The Perspective from Mayan. Linguistic Inquiry 53(3), 459–499. doi:
Zavala Macdonaldo, Roberto. 2017. Alignment patterns. In Judith Aissen, Nora C. England, Roberto Zavala Maldonado (eds.), The Mayan Languages, 226-258. London, New York: Routledge.