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Conjugational double-classification: The separate life cycles of prefix classes vs tone ablaut classes in aspect/mood inflection in the Chatino languages of Oaxaca

In the Chatino languages (Oto-Manguean; Oaxaca), verbs show two independent patterns of conjugational classification in marking aspect and mood, one based on prefixation and the other based on tonal ablaut. I term this conjugational double-classification. Each pattern determines its own conjugational classification of verb stems: verbs fall into several aspect/mood prefix conjugation classes that depend partly on their segmental structure and transitivity; and they simultaneously fall into several largely orthogonal tone-ablaut conjugation classes that depend partly on the tonal characteristics of the stem. A Chatino child therefore must learn both the prefix conjugation class and the tone-ablaut conjugation class of every verb s/he learns. Furthermore, it is shown that diachronically, the prefix classes and the tone-ablaut classes have had independent life cycles: in San Marcos Zacatepec Eastern Chatino, both systems are largely intact; in Zenzontepec Chatino, the prefixation classes are intact but the tone ablaut classes have eroded through tonal simplification; and in San Juan Quiahije Eastern Chatino, the prefixation classes have eroded through initial syllable loss while the tone ablaut classes are intact. It is suggested that autosegmental phonology and morphology, when placed in diachronic perspective, easily allow such conjugational double classification when tone and segmental prefixation occupy distinct autosegmental tiers and when prefixes are largely non-tone bearing.

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Inflectional complexity and verb classes in Chichimec

In this chapter, we propose that in the inflectional morphology of Chichimec, verbs can be classified attending to two different subsystems. One attending to the prefix set they select for the realization of notions such as tense/aspect/mood/polarity and person of the subject, and another attending to the type of stem alternation pattern they
display. As a result of the interaction of these two inflectional subsystems, one obtains a very complex morphological system which is endemic in the Oto-Pamean branch of Oto-Manguean.

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Dr. Crevaux’s Wayana-Carib Pidgin of the Guyanas: a grammatical sketch

In this paper, we look at the notes gathered by the French medical doctor and explorer Jules Crevaux on the language he calls “Roucouyenne” and which is today known as Wayana or Oayana, a Cariban language spoken by between 500 and 900 people in Suriname French Guiana, and Brazil. We give some background information about Jules Crevaux and his notes on the Wayana Pidgin (which he believed to be Wayana proper). Then we give some information about Wayana Pidgin and Pidgin Carib in general, we compare some select properties with equivalents in the Wayana language. We identify some points of continuation between Crevaux and other sources of Carib Pidgin. Finally we provide some information about pidgin users and include some comments that other authors had on Crevaux’s materials, and we provide a grammatical sketch of his version of Carib Pidgin.1

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