Guerrero Mixtec "Field" work

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Guerrero Mixtec "Field" work

Post by Shemtov »

I just finished a course where we did "field" work (over Zoom) with Mixteco immigrants from Guerrero. This is my sketch of the phonology and morphology, and I will post a syntactic analysis soon.
Phonemes in Mixteco:

/ⁿb t ⁿd k (kʷ) ʔ/

/m n ɲ ŋ/

/β s ʃ x/


/j l/

/i u/

/ĩ ũ/

/ɛ ɔ/

/ɛ̃ ɔ̃/



/˥ ˧ ˩/


1. The prenasalized voiced stops are conjectured as being phonemes since:

A. Voiced stops only occur after homorganic nasals

B. Nasals do not occur as codas except before homorganic voiced stops.

This could also be explained by saying there is an archiphoneme /N/ that before stops is expressed as a coda, and voices them, and in other positions nasalizes the vowel, but the Law of Parsimony makes this unlikely.

2. /kʷ/ is put in parenthesis because it may be a /kuV/ sequence.

3. There are vowel sequences, but they do not seem to be phonemic diphthongs or long vowels, given the pulses of the vowels in PRAAT. They do not have glottal stops between them.

4. /i/ has an allophone /ɪ/, but further analysis is needed to determine the rules when the allophone occurs.




Nominal morphology:

Nouns are divided into classes. The ones that have been elicited are Male Human, Female Human, Animal, Wood and Trees, and Fruits and Vegetables.

The 3P pronouns are formed by the class prefix followed by /kaa/.

The Person and Numbers that are marked for humans are:

1P sing

2P sing

3P sing masc

3P sing fem

1P plr incl

1P plr exc

2P plr

3p plr masc

3p plr fem

Possession is divided into inalienable possession vs. alienible.

Alienable possession is formed by POSSESSED.NOUN CLASIF-PERS.NUMB

Example (Yerba Santa dialect):

kwai sane

kwai san-e


“My horse”

Inalienable possession is formed by attaching a person-number marker to the noun:






“My hand”

Verbal morphology:

Verbs take person and number marking. These are the same as the inalienable possessive markers, and if they begin in a vowel, the vowel replaces the last vowel of the root. For non-human subjects, they take a classifier marker, that does not change for plural.

The difference between present and past is tonal. As most roots are bisyllabic, it seems that the pattern for present is HM or ML, while the past is MH or LM.

The future is formed by suppletion.


“Eat” present and past: ʃiʃi

“Eat” future: kùʃi

“Drink” present and past: ʃiʔi

“Drink” future: koʔo

Verbs may take the suffix /ku/ before the person/number suffix, which seems to be progressive.

Example present progressive paradigm:

ʃiʃi "eat"

1P sing: ʃiʃikui

1P plr incl: ʃiʃikujo

1P plr excl: ʃiʃikundi

2P sing: ʃiʃikũ

2P plr: ʃiʃikundo

3P sing Masc: ʃiʃikurà

3P sing fem: ʃiʃikuɲá

3P sing anim: ʃiʃikuri

3P plr: ʃiʃikúnú

Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien
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Re: Guerrero Mixtec "Field" work

Post by Creyeditor »

Can you explain the future suppletion again? Maybe with glossed examples (even if simplified)?
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Re: Guerrero Mixtec "Field" work

Post by Shemtov »


The Noun Phrase:

Adjectives and deictics come after the noun. They require the noun classifier to occur with the noun.

ti kwayi ⁿdaa

CLASS horse black

“The black horse”

ti kwaji kaa

CLASS horse that

Numerals come before the noun, and do not require the classifier, except to mark the noun as definite:

̃ĩĩ kwaji

One horse

“One horse”

̃ĩĩ ti kwaji

One CLASS horse

“The one horse”

Possesion may be marked by using a verb-like particle /sana/, with the personal endings:

nduʃu sana-i

Chicken SANA-1P

“My chicken”

Basic intransitive sentences:

The basic word order is SV. The subject may be dropped, if it is a pronoun.

jiʔi káʔa-ĩ

1P speak-1P

“I speak”



“I speak”

Adverbs come before the verb:

tãã kuʔ-i

Tommorow go.fut-1P

“I will go tommorow”

Basic Intransitive sentences:

The basic word order is SVO.

mio ʃiʔ-jo takuii

1P.PLR.EXCL drink- 1P.PLR.EXCL water

“We drink water”

The Copula:

The Copula, /kuu/ is verb-like, as it can take personal and class endings like verbs, but sometimes it stands alone, if one of the nouns is a pronoun. It is placed between the pronoun and the other noun:

jiʔi kuu ta sikũ

1P COP MASC tall

“I am the tall one [by a male speaker]”

Note the nominalazation of the adjective by putting a class marker before it.

An example of a verb-like copular sentence:

ñá savi-ku-i

FEM Mixteco-COP-1P

“I [Female speaker] am Mixteco”

Predicative adjectives, in addition to the copula, require the class marker to be repeated, with the particle /ta/ before the repeated class marker:

ti kwayi siʔi ta ti yaa-ku-ri

CLASS horse female TA CLASS white-COP-3P

“The mare is white”


Modality is handled by putting a modal verb before the main verb, and conjugating both verbs:

Abilitative modality:

ʃíní-ra kata-ra

Able-3P sing-3P

“S/he can sing”

Permissive modality:

kutʃinu-i kata-i

Permit-1P sing-1P


Negating nouns is done by the negative existencial, koó.

koó takwìí

“There is no water”

koó kwaji

“There is no horse”

To be specific, sivi (jùu)̀ is used instead.

sivi jùù kia

“That is not a rock”

Verbal phrases can be negated by the particle vasa:

vása sikú̃-ì

NEG tall-1P

“I am not tall


Polar questions are formed by the pre-sentence particle a:

A takaa ʃito-un?

INTEROG 3P look-2P

“Are you looking at him?”

A ʃaʃi-un ti-nana kwaʔa?

INTEROG eat-2P CLASS-tomato red.

“Are you eating a tomato?”

WH-questions are formed by putting the interrogative word in place of what is questioning:

juku “who”

juku ndoʔo

Who 2P

“Who are you?

juku kua “what is this”

juku kua jóʔo?

What thing this

“What is this thing”

juku kua tikwita jóʔo?

What thing round.object this

“what is this round thing?”

Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
-JRR Tolkien
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