Tonal association, prominence and prosodic structure in South-eastern Nochixtlán Mixtec
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The researcher of most varieties of Mixtec (Oto-Manguean) is faced with a high level of surface alternations whereby the tones of some words vary according to their context. Early researchers, such as Kenneth L Pike, accounted for these differences by assigning morphemes to different classes according to the effect morphemes have on the following morpheme. However a much more satisfactory explanation can be achieved by positing the presence of floating tones which are the result of one of three processes: right-ward shift of underlying tones, loss of CV segments, or the delinking of Low tones. The main focus of this thesis is to account for the tonal association patterns of Southeastern Nochixtlán Mixtec (MXY). As background we present a brief summary of the work of earlier researchers, including claims about the relationship between stress and High tone, (Chapters 2 and 3), and then in Chapter 4 we show how autosegmental phonology provides a more satisfactory account for these published data. In Chapter 5 we show that in spite of surface differences, when the surface tones of morphemes are compared across varieties, morphemes can be shown to belong to tonal categories which reflect a previous stage of Mixtec. Chapters 6 to 10 present unpublished data from MXY. In Chapter 6 we show that underlying tones of disyllabic morphemes usually align at the right edge of their sponsoring morpheme. We also demonstrate how tones are provided for the unspecified initial syllables. In this chapter we also present acoustic data to show that underlying Mid tones participate in phonological processes which default Mid tones do not. Chapter 7 presents more data to show MXY tonal association patterns, including the behaviour of floating High tones such as their tendency to align at the right edge of prosodic words. Chapter 8 describes the complex tonal association of floating High tones sponsored by four verbal prefixes. We show that the resulting surface forms depend not only on the underlying tones sponsored by the verb root, but the form of the verb stem with which it associates. In Chapter 9 we turn to examine whether there is any relationship between stressed syllables and High tone. We analyse acoustic data to show that initial syllables of roots show statistically significant increased duration. By examining the tonal association patterns, we conclude that in MXY, the association of High tones is governed by alignment rather than the locus of stress. Based on the findings of Chapter 9, in Chapter 10 we look at the locus of stress in two different contexts: one, stress found in compound words; and two, stress in verb roots which co-occur with prefixes. In all these contexts we see no predilection for High tones to associate with the stressed syllable. In this chapter we also look at contexts in which Low tone spreads. Chapter 11 pulls together the data presented in Chapters 6 to 10 and presents them against a theoretical background of the interaction between prosody and syntax.