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mar. 12/02/2019 Atelier Histoire et Ecologie des Langues: Albert Alvarez (University of Sonora)"Agent nominalizers in Yaqui (Uto-Aztecan):Origins and Functions"
ISH, salle Andre Frossard

Yaqui, an Uto-Aztecan language spoken in northwestern Mexico, presents two different agent nominalizers: the suffix –me (1), and the suffix –reo (2):
In this presentation, I will explore the differences between both types of agent nominalizers, focusing on the origin and the function of both markers in Yaqui.
Regarding the diachrony of these markers, it will be shown that the suffix –me corresponds to an old nominalizer that can be found in many southern Uto-Aztecan languages and that its origin is associated with an animate plural noun marker. I will propose that the evolution from plurality to nominalization is triggered by the use of –me as an animate plural marker on adjectives used as NP-heads (such as tuuri-me ‘the good ones’). As for the suffix –reo, its origin is associated with language contact, since it has been recently borrowed from the Spanish agent nominalizer –ero (jardin-ero ‘garden-er’).
Considering the functions of these markers, the study will illustrate the need for distinguishing, on the one hand, between grammatical and lexical nominalizations (Koptjevskaja-Tamm 2006; Genetti et al. 2008; Shibatani 2009), and, on the other hand, between subject and agent nominalizers. Indeed, I will demonstrate that the suffix -me is a subject nominalizer that can be used for grammatical nominalizations as well as for lexical nominalizations, while the suffix –reo is only used as an agent nominalizer in lexical nominalizations. Finally, I will show that the suffix –me can also be involved in relativization when it is used with a modifying function in an appositive grammatical nominalization (Alvarez 2012, 2016).


Álvarez González, A. 2016. The evolution of grammatical nominalizations in Cahita Languages. In Finiteness and Nominalization [Typological Studies in Language 113], C. Chamoreau & Z. Estrada-Fernandez (eds), 107-140. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Álvarez González, A. 2012. Relative clauses and nominalizations in Yaqui. In Relative Clauses in Languages of the Americas. A Typological Overview [Typological Studies in Language 102], B. Comrie & Z. Estrada-Fernandez (eds), 67-96. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Genetti, C., Bartee, E., Coupe, A., Hildebrandt, K. & Lin, Y.J. 2008. Syntactic aspects of nominalization in five Tibeto-Burman languages of the Himalayan area. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 31(2): 97–143.
Koptjevskaja-Tamm, M. 2006. Nominalization. In Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics, Vol.8, Keith Brown (ed.), 642–659. Oxford: Elsevier.
Shibatani, M. 2009. Elements of complex structures, where recursion isn’t it. The case of relativization. In Syntactic Complexity. Diachrony, Acquisition, Neuro-Cognition, Evolution [Typological Studies in Language 85], T. Givón & M. Shibatani (eds), 163-98. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

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