Phonology, tone and the functions of tone in San Juan Quiahije Chatino
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The dissertation is a basic description of segmental phonology, tone, and the functions of tone in the San Juan Quiahije (SJQ) variety of Eastern Chatino. Chatino languages are spoken in the southern part of Oaxaca, Mexico. Chatino languages form a subgroup that is coordinate with the Zapotec languages in the Zapotecan family of the Otomanguean linguistic stock. The dissertation focuses on the sound system of SJQ Chatino, its system of tones, and the lexical, morphological, and syntactic functions of the tone system. SJQ Chatino is of special interest because it is a Chatino variety that has reduced nearly all historic simple stems to monosyllables, leaving behind complex consonant clusters; it has an exceptionally large tone system and complex system of tonal sandhi; the tones mark significant grammatical contrasts in addition to lexical units; and tone sandhi is significant in cuing syntactic and discourse structure. This description starts with an introduction to the language, its language family, a typological overview, a brief history of my fieldwork, and the methodology undertaken in this study. The work then describes the segmental phonology, including syllable structure and the distribution of the consonant and vowel phonemes, and the tones and tone sandhi, arguing for a system of fourteen contrastive tones at the lexical level. The work then turns to the functions of tone, including the restrictions on the lexical tone system according to the part of speech, with special emphasis on numeral words; the use of tone in marking possessor person and number in inalienably possessed nouns, and in marking aspect and subject person and number in verb; and tone in Spanish loan words. The description and analysis of these aspects of Quiahije Chatino is based on data gathered through elicitation and oral texts as well as my own intuitions as a native speaker of SJQ Chatino.