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Word order variation in Isthmus Mixe: Voice and discourse considerations

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In the face of evidence of considerable word order variation in Mixe languages, this article posits a basic word order of SOV for Isthmus Mixe, analyzing the language as having an inverse voice category that partially explains the observed surface word order variation. Using functional criteria established for voice distinctions by Givón (1994), it is shown that the Object is higher in topicality than the Subject in inverse-transitive clauses, as attested by ellipsis of the Subject and by topicality measures of Referential Distance and Topic Persistence. When inverse-clause word orders are separated out from direct-clause word orders, and when discourse considerations are taken into account, the basic SOV order of the Isthmus Mixe direct clause becomes apparent.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Arlington, SIL International

Publication date: September 1, 2002

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