This project involves fieldwork on relative clauses (RCs) in two Uto-Aztecan languages, Hiaki (Yaqui) and O'odham (Papago), as part of a dissertation project on the syntax and typology of pre-nominal and post-nominal relative clauses.

Pre- and post-relatives differ systematically. In general, only postrelatives employ finite verbs, relative pronouns, and the complementizer used in sentential complementation. The proposed study will investigate the correlations between pre- and postrelatives and the correlations between them and other types of RCs that have been identified in the literature. Central questions are:

1. Why do these correlations exist?

2. What criteria determine the choice of prerelative versus postrelative across languages?

Of special interest is the existence of languages whose RCs do not fit neatly into the typology that seems adequate for the majority of languages studied to date, languages whose RCs show properties characteristic of both pre- and postrelatives. The analysis of these languages will help to understand the true shape of the typology, and the reasons the facts are what they are.

Hiaki and O'odham are 'mixed' languages in this sense. O'odham uses both pre- and postrelatives. Hiaki employs postrelatives with all the properties typical of prerelatives. The proposed project will investigate the RCs of both languages by conducting fieldwork and analyzing native texts. The results of this research are necessary prerequisites for the theoretical objective of the project.

Hiaki and O'odham are endangered languages. The description of their RC-constructions gained by fieldwork and text-analysis will also be used to develop teaching materials. All fieldwork data will be recorded digitally. They will also be used as data for the webbased dictionary-project on O'odham, Navajo, and Hiaki that is currently underway at the University of Arizona.

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
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