LingLang Lunch (4/30/2015): Eladio Mateo Toledo (B’alam) (CIESAS-Sureste, México)

The Destinative Construction in Q’anjob’al (Maya)

Purpose constructions involve two situations linked by a purposive relation where a situation, expressed by the matrix predicate, is performed with the intention/goal of obtaining the realization of another situation, the purpose clause (Cristofaro 2005:506, Schmidtke-Bode 2009:20, Verstraete 2008:764). Therefore, they involve intentionality on the part of an argument of the main clause; the purpose clause is intrinsically future oriented; and the outcome is intended or hypothetical. These features are illustrated in (1) (based on Simonin 2011:2).

(1) A monkey picked leaves or fruit in order to eat them, but it never ate them,
     though that was certainly its intention.

Q’anjob’al has two purpose constructions: motion-cum purpose and a finite purpose clause. In this talk, I present a related construction that I call the destinative construction (2).

(2) a. Max-ach             y-i-teq                     ix         s-q’ume-j
          com-abs2sg       erg3-bring-dir       clf       erg3-talk-tv
          ‘She brought you to talk to you.’
      b. Ay-ach             ek’        j-ante-j
          exs-abs2sg       dir       erg1pl-cure-tv
          ‘You are here for us to cure.’

Analyzing this construction as a purpose clause is problematic because intentionality is not necessary, as in (2b). Furthermore, person inflection is rigidly transitive or intransitive in Q’anjob’al but this construction violates it as the second verb, otherwise transitive, lacks a second person argument. However, this inflectional pattern also occurs in complex predicates like the ditransitive one in 3).

(3)  Ch-ach             ul             hin-say                   w-il-a’
      inc-abs2sg       come       erg1s-look.for       erg1s-see-tv
      ‘I come to look for you (for myself).’ {txt062}

I have three goals in this talk. Following Simonin’s (2011) work on English and that of Polian (2015) on Maya, I firstly show that (2) is a destinative construction and not a purpose clause (‘the construction denotes a situation where the matrix verb makes available an entity that is earmarked for a particular use, specified by the second verb’). Second, I show that the Q’anjob’al destinative and the English weak purpose clause, with different syntax, are licensed by the same types of predicates. I finally show that the Q’anjob’al destinative clause has features of both complex clauses and complex predicates; this makes it unique in Q’anjob’al and Maya.