ERIC Number: ED396542
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
K'iche' Maya Verbs of Breaking and Cutting.
Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, v21 p87-98 1996
K'iche' Maya divides the breaking and cutting domains into much more specific actions than either English or Spanish. K'iche' does not have a general word for breaking that can be substituted for the specialized breaking verbs in the way that English "break" can be used to describe more specific senses of picking, popping, smashing, or shattering. Twenty-seven definitions for English "break" are listed versus 42 meanings in K'iche'. Thus, K'iche' has gaps in its lexical and conceptual structure with no equivalent lexical or phrasal expressions for English "break" and "cut." K'iche' examples illustrate that "cut" verbs do not universally fail to undergo the causative alternation. Such facts pose severe difficulties for the notion of a universal conceptual structure underlying language. It is concluded that K'iche' breaking verbs are difficult to define because their meaning is not captured by the same set of semantic features that underlies English breaking verbs. It is concluded that the assumption of semantic indeterminacy expands the scope of field investigations and is preferable to the assumption of semantic determinacy. (Contains 16 references.) (Author/NAV)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Universal Grammar
Note: For complete volume, see FL 023 880.