Noah Nelson, Heidi Harley, Maria Florez Leyva, Santos Leyva
Nelson, Noah, Heidi Harley, Maria Florez Leyva and Santos Leyva. 2019. Are verbs ‘verbable’ in Hiaki? The Hiaki ability passive. In Estudios en lenguas amerindias 4, edited by Albert Alvarez Gonzaléz, Zarina Estrada Fernández, Manuel Peregrina Llanes and Mercedes Tubino, pp 211-258. Hermosillo, Mexico: Universidad de Sonora Publicaciones.
Publication year: 2019

This chapter presents an analysis of the “ability passive” in Hiaki, a Uto- Aztecan language spoken in Sonora, Mexico and Arizona, United States. In this construction, an independent ability modifier co-occurs with a verb that is suffixed with a verbalizer, one that does not attach to verbal stems in other contexts. Crucially, this construction results in passive-like effects on the argument structure of the internal verb. We propose that the ability modal realizes an adjectivizing phrase that intervenes between the verb stem and the verbalizer. This analysis relates the present construction to similar ability adjectives in a number of languages (e.g., English ‘doable’, ‘learnable’) that involve a deverbal adjectival “passive.”