PublisherUniversity of Arizona Linguistics Circle
JournalCoyote Papers: Working Papers in Linguistics from A-Z, Studies on Native American Languages, Japanese and Spanish
AbstractIn this paper I will present an analysis of Yaqui moods and modes. Yaqui is an Uto-Aztecan language with approximately eighteen thousand speakers, most of whom live in Sonora, Mexico and Arizona. Yaqui, like all natural languages, has sentence mood. Yaqui is a verb -final language and has sentence-final suffixes marking tense /aspect and modality. Some of the terminology that I employ here is presented in Bach and Harnish (1979). The Yaqui taxonomy of communicative illocutionary acts contains Constatives, Directives, Commissives, and Acknowledgements. These illocutionary acts are carried out by employing a sentence with a particular mood /modal status. The terms "mood" and "mode" are frequently employed interchangeably, or with no clear definition of the difference between the two. My proposal here is that we may define sentence mood in Yaqui as a set of elements that define sentence type, that are necessary for sentencehood, and that are mutually exclusive. In contrast, sentence modes are optional features of sentences and are not mutually exclusive. Modes may occur with one another and necessarily occur with some mood. I will also distinguish between major and minor sentence moods; the minor moods may be recognized as sub-varieties of the major moods. An interesting result of this analysis is the identification of the semantic and pragmatic factors that constrain possible mood/mode combinations. I will now specify the Yaqui moods and modes. Moods: Every Yaqui sentence has one and only one mood. The three major moods in Yaqui are Declarative, Interrogative, and Imperative. Minor Moods: I identify four minor moods. The minor moods can be viewed as varieties or sub-classes of the major moods. The minor moods are Warnings, Prohibitions, Tag Questions, and Queclaratives. The first two are sub-varieties of the Imperative mood, and the latter two are sub-varieties of the Interrogative mood. These minor moods have pragmatic functions that differ from those of the corresponding major moods. Modes: Yaqui modes are either epistemic (relating to truth) or deontic (relating to action or control). The modes cooccur with the moods and with each other, as I will show. To begin, I will first describe the structure of each of the major moods.