Étiquette : Oto-Manguean

Inflectional tone in Hñähñu (Mezquital Otomi)

AMERINDIA 42: 1-21, 2020 Néstor HERNÁNDEZ-GREENCIESAS Mexico City Abstract: This paper is the first thorough description of inflectional tone changes in theverb stem in Hñähñu. Verbs in Hñähñu (Otomanguean > Otopamean > Otomi) can beclassified into four conjugations according to

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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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Power-laws and preferential attachment in linguistic morphology: Evidence from Meʔpá verb classes

Through extensive analysis it can be shown that the organization of the highly complex Meʔpá (Azoyú Tlapanec) verbal paradigms is for the most part transparently based on the expression of grammatical categories, even if these categories are sometimes typologically unfamiliar. There are also phonological principles at work in defining various subclasses, even if these are sometimes also difficult to unravel. However, within one of the grammatically defined classes it is necessary to operate with subclasses that are truly arbitrary. This concerns the tonal paradigms of semantically transitive verbs taking a high-impact (ergative) animate agent and an inanimate undergoer. For these, person inflection is tonal, and 24 different tonal paradigms have been identified. Apart from negative evidence –absence of non-arbitrary phonological, semantic or grammatical determinants of class membership– it is also possible to observe positive evidence that class membership is essentially stochastic. First, the sizes of the classes follow a power-law distribution (with a few large classes, some intermediate ones and many small ones, resulting in a straight line having a negative slope when size is plotted as a function of rank of size using log-log scales). Secondly, the more members a tonal class has, the more similar it is to other classes. Together, these two characteristics bear witness to a diachronic trajectory involving the principle of preferential attachment, which also governs many natural and social phenomena.

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Las clases flexivas verbales del zapoteco de Zoochina

Zoochina Zapotec (Zapotecan, Oto-Manguean) has two independent but crisscrossing systems of verbal classification. One is an affixal system and it involves the selection of different sets of prefixal inflections for the incompletive, completive and irrealis. This allomorphy results into four inflectional classes. The other system involves two stem alternation patterns for the irrealis. Affixal classes I and II interact with the stem classes in interesting ways, resulting into four mixed classes. The inflectional system I describe for Zoochina Zapotec is very innovative with regard to other Zapotec languages.

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From ‘complexity’ to ‘simplexity’: A diasystemic approach to Mazatec inflectional classes

Mazatec provides a good example for the internal variation in inflectional class systems within a large dialectal continuum. This chapter provides first-hand data on a few Mazatec dialects over the Highlands and Midlands dialects, highlighting a number of important issues beyond the specific properties already known about this language in terms of inflectional complexity. The chapter is a first attempt to provide a comprehensive diasystemic description and modeling of this variation. We propose that disentangling this complexity by way of the concept of ‘symplexity’ is as important as describing intricate patterns within an inflectional system.

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Inflectional Verb Classes in Acazulco Otomi

Acazulco Otomi (Oto-Pamean, Oto-Manguean) is an endangered language spoken by about 200 elderly people in San Jerónimo Acazulco, a village located 35 km Southwest from Mexico City (Mexico). The language is tonal, verb-initial and headmarking. This language has four inflectional classes of verbs, which differ from each other (a) in the allomorphs of tense-aspect-mood proclitics they select, and (b) in the type of stem alternations they present across their paradigm. Although class membership is a lexical property for each particular verb, the existence of verb pairs across different classes suggests that the classes emerged from valence-changing morphological strategies that are no longer productive nowadays. This chapter shows how the historical development of inflectional classes of verbs in Acazulco Otomi might have occurred. In addition, it discusses the possibility that one of these classes, which I treat as class IV, may still be under the process of lexicalization.

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Layered complexity in Zenzontepec Chatino verbal inflectional classes

Most verbs in Zenzontepec Chatino fall into one of seven inflectional classes according to which allomorphs of the aspect/mood prefixes they occur with (Campbell 2011), and they also fall into one of nine tone alternation patterns across the different inflectional categories. The intersection of these two layers of inflection, and some further irregularities within them, yields 39 distinct prefix-tone classes. Some of the prefix-tone classes are well populated, while others have only a few or even just one verb in them. Meanwhile, there are another 29 irregular verbs in the language that have either some stem suppletion or some exceptional prefixal inflection, bringing the number of distinct inflectional patterns up to 68. There are only 378 basic verbs that fall into these 68 inflectional patterns. The layered complexity of aspect/mood inflection, with the large number of small, even singleton, classes that it creates, blurs the line between inflectional classes and irregular verbs. While it makes sense to consider the more frequent patterns as inflectional classes, the less frequent patterns might just as well be considered irregular verbs instead of very small inflectional classes. Ultimately, there is no clear choice of exactly where such a line should be drawn between inflectional classes and irregular verbs, and Zenzontepec Chatino verbal inflection raises interesting and challenging questions for morphological typology.

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Inflectional class complexity in the Oto-Manguean languages

In this paper we introduce the object of study of this special issue of Amerindia, the inflectional classes of the Oto-Manguean languages of Mexico, together with their most relevant typological characteristics. These languages are rich both in the variety of their inflectional systems, and in the way these are split into inflection classes. In effect, the full typological range of possible inflection class systems can be found just in this one stock of languages. This is illustrated through a survey of the variety of morphological forms, assignment principles, and paradigm structure, as well as the effects of combining multiple inflection class systems across different exponents within a single word form.

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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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