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Review of  Yaqui Coordination

Reviewer: Lilián Guerrero
Book Title: Yaqui Coordination
Book Author: Constantino Martínez Fabián
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Linguistic Field(s): Linguistic Theories
Subject Language(s): Yaqui
Issue Number: 19.1576

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AUTHOR(S): Fabián, Constantino Martínez
TITLE: Yaqui Coordination
SERIES: LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 59
YEAR: 2007

Lilián Guerrero, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas-Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México

Yaqui coordination is a monographic book based on the author's Ph. D.
dissertation entitled _Yaqui Coordination_ (University of Arizona, 2006). Within
the Optimality Theory framework, the analysis focuses on the function and
distribution of the coordinator 'into(ko)' at the level of sentence, verbs and
nouns. The author claims that Yaqui sentence and verbal coordination is best
analyzed as an adjunct rather than a coordinate structure type. Evidence for
this claim comes from the fact that 'into(ko)' occupies several positions within
the coordinated structures, and these variable positions question the function
of the coordinator as a head.

The book is structured into an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion;
the latter addresses topics for future researchers.

The introduction sets up the basic ideas behind the analysis, and establishes
the empirical and theoretical goals. Some basic information about the Yaqui
language is also introduced, especially the distribution of the coordinator
particle 'into(ko)' and different types of coordinate structures, e.g.
coordination of like (equivalent) units, and coordination of unlike units. The
rest of the chapter exposes the basic principles of Optimality Theory (OT).

Fabián centers his attention on defining coordination not as a coordinated
relationship but as an adjunction process in which the coordinator can function
either as a conjunction or as an adverb. In Yaqui, the coordinator 'into' – the
most common and productive conjunction particle - can appear in three positions
in relation to the second conjunct: (i) first position meaning at the beginning
of the second conjunct, e.g. [Joan bwika] into [ Peo ye'e] 'John sings and Peter
dances'; (ii) second position, after some element of the second conjunct, e.g.
[Joan bwika] [Peo into ye'e]; and (iii) last position either as the last element
in the first conjunct or at the end of the whole sentence, e.g. [Joan bwika]
[Peo ye'e into(ko)]. The first position - the expected pattern - is easily
explained in any theoretical account. From a formal syntactic point of view, the
first conjunct is the specifier, the coordinator is the head and the second
conjunct is its complement. The challenging data comes from the last two
positions since the specifier-head-complement structure is not easy to accommodate.

Chapter two provides a literature review on coordination, all of the literature
reviewed subscribes to formal syntactic approaches. The theoretical proposals
commented on here can be organized into two major groups. The former agrees that
a coordination structure is a headed construction where the head is the
coordinator (cf. Abeillé 2003; Camacho 2003). The second group provides a
different conception allied to the idea that the coordination is not a 'headed'
construction. Instead, the position of the coordinator is irrelevant for the
syntactic analysis (cf. Peterson 2004; Yuasa and Sadock 2002). The author
explicitly follows Borsley (2005)'s observations among which include that
coordinators have quite different combinatorial properties including a
host-adjunct relation.

Chapter three describes the relevant data on Yaqui sentence coordination. The
first part describes the distribution of the particle 'into'. Based on the
author's corpus, 'into' occurs in first position under the following
circumstances: (i) the grammatical subject is the same in both clauses, (ii) the
subject is a pronoun, and (iii) there is not a topicalized element in the second
conjunct sentence. The last point is based on Dedrick and Casad's (1999)
observations. Accordingly, 'into' usually appears in second position when the
subjects are different. The coordinator can finally appear at the end of the
first conjunct or at the end of the second conjunct. It is here where the author
claims that 'into' may express additional (adverbial) meanings, especially when
accompanied with other particles such as 'boeytuk' ('because'), 'into juchi'
('and again'), 'ian into' ('and now'). Part of the evidence of segmenting the
coordinator as attached to the first conjunct or in the middle of the two units
is the possibility of a pause in the former. However, very few examples actually
illustrate the co-occurrence of 'into' as the last element of the first conjunct
and a pause following.

The second part of the chapter provides the analysis of this paradoxical data.
First, several proposals about the structure of Yaqui coordination are
mentioned. Then, the possibility of 'into' as the head coordinator is discarded,
and its adverbial properties are highlighted. The author finally proposes an
alternative analysis for the structure of coordination when 'into' appears in
second position: ''the subject of the second conjunct has been fronted because of
topicalization and is adjoined to CP. An additional adjunction process
introduces a full CP (first sentence). This adjunction process is licensed by
the presence of the feature [coord] in the CP'' (p. 123). Based on the
adjunct-host relationship, the rest of the chapter tries to establish the
relevant constraints and their ranking within the OT framework.

Chapter four moves to other structure types and introduces the notions of
Ordinary Balanced Coordination and Unbalanced Coordination. It is shown that the
Yaqui language does not allow the conjunction of individual verbal heads when
unbalanced. The only apparent exception seems to involve a more complex
construction, the so-called ''verbal chaining structures'' marked by -kai. As the
author points out, such -kai constructions involve both subordinated and
coordinated characteristics. However, the morpho-syntactic, semantic and
pragmatic functions of this construction type are far from clear, and thus its
interaction with coordination is still an open question in the Yaqui grammar.

Chapter five deals with nominal coordination and provides a background on
nominal and verbal classes in Yaqui. It analyzes different instances of
coordination at the phrase level, numbers in nouns and verbs, suppletive verbs,
and coordinated phrases and verbal agreement. In the Uto-Aztecan family, in
general, and in Yaqui, in particular, there are a dozen of suppletive verbs
where the intransitive verbs agree in number with the subject and the transitive
verb agrees in number with the object. The author's point here is to illustrate
the behavior of such suppletive verbs with coordinated nouns. Except for a few
cases of lexically plural nouns (e.g. 'lizards', 'shoes'), the expected pattern
is found: coordinated nouns demand plural suppletive forms. For transitive
verbs, a conflict may arise: coordinated nouns marked by -ta (object position)
may not require suppletive forms. An OT analysis is proposed to solve this
apparent case-number conflict.

The last chapter, a conclusion, reviews the main findings of the research and
goes over the partial conclusions included at the end of each chapter. Finally,
some topics waiting for future research are commented on.

This is an outstanding contribution to the syntactic description of a
construction barely studied in the Yaqui grammar. The book has various strengths
in several aspects, and contributes with relevant data to formal-oriented
theories, in general, and to the Optimality Theory, in particular. The constant
reference to others ' theoretical works undoubtedly enriches the theoretical
claims in this book. At the same time, it gives the reader the opportunity to
become acquainted with certain conceptual frameworks. In this vein, and in order
to evaluate their advantages and drawbacks of these frameworks, it would be
really stimulating if the author could have included some important references
on the topic from less formal works (cf. Haspelmath 2007).

Some minor critical remarks which do not diminish the value of the work at all
relate to the organization of the several subsections, and the repetitive
contents and examples, which is sometimes distracting and confusing. A table
illustrating the distribution frequency would help the reader to figure out
which of the three basic positions of the coordinator is the most common and how
subject identity may interact with such position preference. At the same time,
in the sentential coordination section, several examples include a pause (a
comma) between the two conjuncts, e.g. 'you played, and I slept'. Apparently,
this is true independently of the coordinator position. In the absence of an
explicit comment on this issue, one may wonder if there is a different
intonational contour among the two sentential units and how it may impact the
analysis. This is important given the fact that 'into' has a prominent pragmatic
function in the language.

As previously noticed by Dedrick and Casad (1999), 'into' is also a pragmatic
particle which may indicate focal elements. This is not the only element that
appears in second position, since pronominal subjects usually appear after any
first element in the clause. Except for few cases of data from Crumrine's (1961)
texts, the examples come from direct elicitation. This kind of data is indeed
necessary for exploring particular grammatical aspects - such as full
coordinated nouns with suppletive verbs - structures that rarely appear in
natural contexts. However, the inclusion of spontaneous data - especially from
more recent oral texts and/or the same dialect as the consultants - would
provide more insights on the discourse-pragmatic functions of the coordinator's
distribution. Also, text data would allow the author to explore the interaction
of the two aspects, the pragmatic functions of 'into' and the pragmatic function
of the second position, which is not restricted to coordination. More
importantly, data from actual oral texts would validate or refuse the hypothesis
that the distribution of the coordinator is determined by the identity of the
subjects, a claim that has not been observed yet cross-linguistically.

Abeillé, A. 2003. A lexicalist and construction based approach to coordination.
In _Proceedings of HSPG Conference_, East Lansing, Michigan.

Borsley, R. D. 2005. Against ConjP. _Lingua_ 115, 461-482.

Camacho, J. 2003. _The structure of coordination: Conjunction and Agreement
Phenomena in Spanish and Other Languages_ (_Studies in Natural Language and
Linguistic Theory_ 57). Dordrecth: Kluwer Academic Publisher.

Crumrine, J. 1961. _The phonology of Arizona Yaqui, with texts_ (_University of
Arizona Anthropological Papers_ 5). Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Dedrick, J. M. and E. Casad. 1999. _Sonora Yaqui Language Structures_. Tucson:
University of Arizona Press.

Haspelmath, M. 2007. Coordination. In _Language Typology and Linguistic
Description_. Shopen, T. (Ed). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.

Martínez F. Constantino. 2006. _Yaqui Coordination_. Ph. D. Dissertation.
University of

Peterson, P. 2004. Coordination: consequences of a Lexical-Functional account.
_Natural Language and Linguistic Theory_ 22: 643-679.

Yuasa, E. and J. Sadock (2002). Pseudo-subordination: A mismatch between syntax and
semantics. _Journal of Linguistics_, 38: 87-111.

Lilián Guerrero has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the State University of New York
at Buffalo (2005). She is an associated researcher at the Seminario de Lenguas
Indígenas, in the Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas-Universidad Nacional
Autónoma de México (UNAM). Her main academic interests have been related to the
syntax and semantics of some Uto-Aztecan languages spoken in Northwest México,
in particular, the Yaqui language. Her recent publications deal with the form
and function of Yaqui complementation, and she is currently engaged in the study
of certain properties of the argument structure in some of the Sonoran
Uto-Aztecan languages.