Multiple Object Constructions in P’orhépecha

Argument Realization and Valence-Affecting Morphology


In Multiple Object Constructions in P’orhépecha, Capistrán offers a detailed description of double and triple object clauses in P’orhépecha, a Mesoamerican isolate with a case system lacking an accusative-dative distinction. Regarding argument realization, Capistrán discusses alternating constructions and a construction split triggered by the person hierarchy. Valence-affecting operations—applicative, causative/instrumental and part-whole lexical suffixes—are examined, highlighting the person features of applicative suffixes and the complex part-whole morphology. Capistrán’s analysis demonstrates that in P’orhépecha most object coding properties show a neutral pattern, while all behavioral properties present asymmetries that shape a secundative pattern or PO/SO alignment. Capistrán argues that the strong tendency in P’orhépecha to determine PO selection according to a thematic ranking helps explain the (un)grammaticality of tritransitive constructions.

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Alejandra Capistrán Garza, Ph.D. (2010), El Colegio de México, is Professor of Linguistics at Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa. Her publications on P’orhépecha cover topics on constituent order, applicatives, causatives, lexical categories, and locative descriptions ( Locative and Orientation Descriptions in Tarascan, 2011).
Scholars and researchers interested in syntactic typology, especially in grammatical relations marking, transitivity, and valence-affecting operations; and anyone concerned with the study of Mesoamerican languages, particularly with P’orhépecha (Tarascan) grammar.