Irreality in Q’eqchi’ (Mayan)




Q’eqchi’. Mayan languages. Irrealis. Modality. Guatemala


This paper discusses the semantic domain of irreality and the grammatical means of its expression in Q’eqchi’, a Mayan language from Guatemala. Three morphosyntactic devices are examined in detail: the prefix t- from the tense/aspect/mood paradigm, the “status” suffix -q/-aq and some second-position clitics. Due to the significant structural and functional diversity of the irreality markers, it is argued that Q’eqchi’ does not distinguish a morphologically homogeneous grammatical category of “reality status”, traditionally postulated in some American indigenous languages. The respective semantic functions are not encompassed in a sole category, but are rather distributed among different grammatical and lexical items. However, the importance of the semantic domain of irreality in Q’eqchi’ grammar should not be completely discarded. The morphosyntactic interconnection between certain grammatical elements (like the suffix -q/-aq, which is triggered on intransitive verbs by the prefix t-) and the diachronic semantic change of some clitics (for example, the enclitic ta changed its meaning from optative to counterfactual) are arranged according to semantic principles within the irreality domain.


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Biografia do Autor

Igor Vinogradov, Russian Academy of Sciences

Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences


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Como Citar

VINOGRADOV, I. Irreality in Q’eqchi’ (Mayan). LIAMES: Línguas Indígenas Americanas, Campinas, SP, v. 18, n. 1, p. 160–177, 2018. DOI: 10.20396/liames.v1i1.8648667. Disponível em: Acesso em: 29 nov. 2022.