This is the first full-length reference grammar of Mam, a Mayan
language spoken today by over 400,000 people in the western
highlands of Guatemala and the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The result
of over three years of extensive fieldwork in Guatemala, A Grammar
of Mam, a Mayan Language is based on the dialect of Mam spoken by
12,000 people in San Ildefonso Ixtahuacan in the department of
England organizes A Grammar of Mam according to two
complementary principles: to analyze Mam following basically
traditional levels of grammatical description and to present
material in such a way that the background information necessary
for understanding each topic of discussion shall have been
previously provided. Accordingly, England's analysis of the sound
system and morphophonemic processes of Mam is followed by a
description of the characteristics of root, inflectional, and
derivational morphology. Chapters on phrase structure precede two
chapters on sentence-level syntax.
A Grammar of Mam is of particular interest in analyzing a Mayan
language that is both syntactically and morphologically ergative
and that is innovative in the direction of strengthening the
ergative system. Indeed at all levels of linguistic organization
Mam is innovative, and for this reason it is uniquely interesting
both historically and theoretically.
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