The phonetics, phonology, and morphology of Chajul Ixil (Mayan)

Adell, Eric James
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This dissertation presents a systematic analysis and description of the phonetics, phonology, and morphology of the Chajul dialect of Ixil, an indigenous Mayan language of Guatemala. Following an introduction to the language and speakers, and the methods and presentation of this study, the phonetics and phonology are treated together, with the remainder of the work dedicated to morphology. The treatment of the phonetics of Chajul Ixil includes descriptions of the physical characteristics of sounds utilized by the language, and of the acoustic correlates of both segmental and suprasegmental phenomena. Phonetic topics are interwoven throughout the phonological description. Major phonological topics include the phonology of the segmental inventory, syllable structure and phonotactics, phonological processes, issues in morphophonology, and an overview of the prosodic structures of Chajul Ixil. Issues of the history of phonological developments are discussed at times as well. The morphological chapters begin with an overview of morphological structure, followed by a description of the morphology of verbs and elements of the verb phrase, then a treatment of nouns, pronouns, and demonstratives, and then the morphology of modification within the noun phrase. After this, other root and word classes are described before finishing the work with an overview of aspect, temporality, and modality. One of the highlights of the work is a description of a previously unattested phonological contrast, namely, the alveo-postalveolar sibilants, which are a series of phonologically unitary segments in which the primary place of articulation shifts from alveolar to postalveolar during their production. Other major contributions include the presentation of a systematic and coherent analysis of the prosodic system and its relation to the general morphophonological structure of the language, and an in-depth treatment of the rich system of temporal and modal contrasts in Chajul Ixil.