To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
As shown in Chapter 6, Q’eqchi’ mas is not at all similar in function to Spanish más. The closest equivalent to Spanish más is rather the Q’eqchi’ particle chik, especially in regards to the types of constructions that incorporate it and the kinds of presupposition such constructions carry. To show this, Chapter 8 details the wide range of arguments that the form chik ‘more/else’ can take as an operator: verbal and stative predicates, wh-words, and quantities, inter alia. It shows that, across all these constructions, chik presupposes that a proposition is true of some quantity (degree, event, entity, or time), and it asserts that the proposition is true for a larger quantity (greater degree, subsequent event, other entity, or later time). It shows that, while chik behaves very similarly to Spanish más and English ‘more’ (as well as English ‘else’, ‘(no) longer’, and ‘(not) again’), it does not serve the same comparative function as its Spanish and English counterparts, except in the relatively marked case of self-comparison. Finally, it compares and contrasts the meaning of chik with two closely related forms: ajwi’ ‘also’ and ka’ajwi’ ‘only’.
Chapter 12 focuses on modal intensifiers in Q’eqchi’-Maya – the forms tz’aqal and num(tajenaq), which are similar in function to English ‘enough’ and ‘too’, respectively. In particular, one of the functions of such forms is to indicate that the degree of some dimension is above or beyond an acceptable range, such that a key condition for an action or event is, or is not, met. These last two forms are particularly important because they link together significant degrees of salient dimensions, and hence intensity, and relate it to acceptability, and hence modality. Such forms are particularly salient in the context of an institution like replacement because speakers routinely use them, in conjunction with the temporal operators discussed in chapter 9, to represent and regiment various possibilities. For example, at what age does a boy acquire the requisite competence (strength and skill) to an adequate degree, such that it is normatively permissible that he may stand in for, or replace, his father in a labor pool.
Chapter 6 focuses on the role of mas (< Sp. más) in Q’eqchi’-Maya and the function of the modern comparative construction (long thought to be a calque of its Spanish equivalent). In contrast to previous analyses, it shows that Q’eqchi’ mas does not function as a comparative (like Spanish más), but rather as a degree modifier, indefinite quantity, and differential operator (like Spanish muy and mucho). It shows that the comparative construction does not require mas but only the positive form of gradable predicate, along with the adposition chiru (before, in the face of) to mark the standard. It shows that mas came into Q’eqchi’ during the late 1800s and seems to have functioned this way from the beginning. In addition, it offers reasons for this shift in meaning and its frequent misanalysis by linguists.
Chapter 1 is about the social and semiotic mediation of comparative grounds. In particular, the way people come to understand and alter the relative intensity of entities and events. Focusing on the multiple processes that mediate people’s understandings of landslides in a Mayan village in highland Guatemala, it shows the ways comparative grounds relate to communicative practices and social conventions. In addition, it highlights the political, economic, affective, and ecological stakes at work in such forms of mediation.
Chapter 9 introduces the Q’eqchi’-Maya institution of replacement (eeqaj), a set of practices and beliefs, which determine when various kinds of entities and agents must be replaced, as well as what kinds of entities and agents may substitute for them, and thereby serve as their replacements. It uses this institution as a means to articulate various modes of temporality that underlie social practices and material processes: temporality as repetition (and interruption); temporality as irreversibility (and reversibility); temporality as reckoning (and regimentation); temporality as roots and fruits; and temporality as cosmology and worldview. In addition, it highlights the important role that thresholds play in mediating such practices and processes.
Chapter 2 is about the social and semiotic mediation of causal grounds. In particular, the way people come to understand and alter the sequencing of events or the channeling of forces. Focusing on the multiple processes that mediate people’s understandings of landslides in a Mayan village in highland Guatemala, it shows the ways causal grounds relate to physical forces, communicative practices, and social conventions. It highlights the political, economic, affective, and ecological stakes at work in such forms of mediation.
Chapter 10 is about four aspectual adverbs in Q’eqchi’-Maya, which may be loosely glossed as ‘already’ (ak), ‘not yet’ (maaji’), ‘still’ (toj), and ‘no longer’ (ink’a’ chik). It shows the presupposition and assertion structure of these forms in unmarked usage (as sentential operators acting on imperfective predicates), and it argues that they constitute a dual group in the tradition of Loebner (1989) who worked on similar operators in German. This chapter shows the wide range of other functions such forms serve in more marked usage and the ways they may co-occur with each other in the same clause (and thereby ‘double’), leading to constructions like ‘still no longer’ and ‘already not yet’. It offers a semantics that accounts for the multiple functions of all such constructions, highlighting the ways these forms are similar to, and different from, their German and Spanish counterparts.
Chapters 11 is about modality in Q’eqchi’-Maya – various resources speakers have for referring to entities and events that are nonactual, and hence notions like possibility, permission, necessity, and obligation. It focuses on the forms naru and tento, which are similar in function to the modal auxiliary verbs in English: naru doing work akin to English ‘may’ and ‘can’ (or deontic, dynamic, and circumstantial possibility), and tento doing work akin to English ‘must’. It offers a detailed examination of how speakers use such forms to represent and regiment what counts as obligatory, forbidden, permissible, and possible courses of action.
This book is about intensity, which might be provisionally understood as significant degrees of salient dimensions in shared worlds. For example, what counts as too hot, very cruel, not far enough, over-priced, most pressing, underwhelming, sooner than previously believed, excessively polite, almost unlivable, or extremely shortsighted. As may be seen, such assessments involve dimensions such as heat, speed, proximity, cruelty, price, importance, unlivability and shortsightedness. Such assessments involve degrees, and ways of manipulating them: discursive resources and embodied registers for sensing and expressing how hot, cruel, close, expensive, shortsighted, or unlivable something is. And such assessments involve the particular worlds in which such dimensions and degrees come to matter: not just physical places with ecological potentials and material constraints, but also imagined worlds of possibility and necessity, normative worlds of permission and obligation, economic worlds of credit and debt, affective worlds of anxiety and desire, and far beyond.
Chapter 7 is about the colonial comparative construction in Q’eqchi’-Maya. It analyzes the form and function of various tokens of this construction, as found in a colonial grammar. It compares this colonial construction with the modern comparative construction, showing how they differ and elucidating the historical relation that connects them. It shows that both constructions were present in the colonial period, overlapped for some time in their comparative function, and are still in use today. At some point around the middle-to-end of the nineteenth century, the colonial construction gave up its comparative function (retaining its original spatial usage, along with a secondary metaphorical usage), and the modern construction took on its comparative function (while retaining its original spatial usage). It argues that the colonial construction did not evolve into the modern construction. Rather, both constructions are part of a larger comparative complex, involving many variants, that has long been active.
Chapter 4 synthesizes the concerns of the first three chapters. It is about four topics that underlie the Anthropocene: gradients (the way qualities vary in their intensity over space and time, and the ways such variations relate to causal processes); grading (the ways agents assess and alter such intensities and experience and intervene in causal processes); degradation (the ways highly valuable variations in qualitative intensities are lowered or lost); and grace (the way agents work to maintain gradients, care for those whose lives have been degraded, and value those agents who work and care in such ways). It reframes a few universal thermodynamic variables as (soon to be, if not already) global sociocultural values: energy, entropy, work, and temperature. In addition, it details some of the key features of one important nineteenth-century cosmology in regard to the origins of the Anthropocene (and the discipline of anthropology).