Argument realization and discourse status in Yucatec,
a purely head-marking language

AMERINDIA 43: 249-289, 2021

Jürgen BOHNEMEYER
Timothy J. TILBE

University at Buffalo, the State University of New York

Abstract: We examine the impact of givenness on argument realization in a small text corpus of Yucatec folk narratives (660 clause-like units). We find that the default devices for the extension of topic chains are bare cross-reference markers. Weightier expressions – free pronouns, demonstrative pro-forms, clause-mate co-nominals, and left-dislocated pro-forms or nominals – are used for disambiguation among competing referents, resuming previous topic chains, and introducing new referents. Bare cross-reference markers occur exclusively with given referents. Their behavioral properties thus strongly support an anaphoric analysis, despite the existence of evidence suggesting an agreement (‘pro-drop’) analysis in the presence of clause-mate co-nominals.