Southern Zapotec Verb Classes
This paper provides a detailed description of inflectional classes of verbs based on TAM-marking morphology in Coatec Zapotec. This description is then used as a standard for comparison with other Zapotec languages spoken in the Southern Sierra region of Oaxaca, Mexico, which is considered by the author to be a diffusion zone. A comparison of 14 varieties belonging to five languages finds that the most diverse TAMmarking systems are found in the western part of the Southern Sierra while the system of inflectional classes greatly simplifies as one moves eastward. Contact and diffusion are considered to be crucial in the retention or loss of conservative features and the spread of innovations such as nasalization of certain prefixes.