Caballero colloquium

April 19, 2021

The 2020-2021 colloquium series continues on Monday, April 26, with a talk by Gabriela Caballero (UC San Diego), held via Zoom from 3:10-5pm. The talk is entitled "Lexical-grammatical tone interactions in San Juan Piñas Mixtec: Phonological representation and orthographic implications," and the abstract is as follows:

There has been a long tradition of documentation of the highly complex and diverse tonal systems of Mixtec language varieties (Oto-Manguean; Mexico) since Pike’s (1944, 1948) seminal work. But while most previous research has focused on lexical tone, interactions between lexical and grammatical tone in these languages have been relatively understudied in comparison (cf. Palancar et al. 2016 on Yoloxóchitl Mixtec). Based on ongoing research conducted with Claudia Juárez Chávez, Michelle Yuan and students (UC San Diego), this talk presents an analysis of the tone system in San Juan Piñas Mixtec (SJPM), a previously undocumented variety, focusing on lexical-grammatical tone interactions. We analyze SJPM grammatical tone as involving concatenation of floating tonal morphemes in a layered hierarchical structure, where tonal overwriting/avoidance of lexical tone by grammatical tone results from dominance properties of tonal exponents (Rolle 2018) and general tonal processes. We argue lexical tone in SJPM involves three tonal primitives (/H/, /L/, and /M/) and that lexical-grammatical tone patterns contribute evidence for tonal representation: some, but crucially not all, surface [M] tones are underspecified. This contrasts with analyses of other Mixtec varieties where [M] is uniformly analyzed to be underspecified as /∅/ (Daly & Hyman 2007, Carroll 2015). Finally, grammatical tone patterns may also be determined by the tonal representation of root morphemes, as evidenced by a pattern of non-local tone association in roots that sponsor floating tones. This talk concludes by considering the implications that the tonal analysis of SJPM has for the orthographic representation of the language in the development of resources for language reclamation led by Claudia Juárez Chávez, our native speaker collaborator.