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M.A. Theses in Linguistics
at the University of North Dakota
Cline, Kevin 2013
The tone system of Acatepec Me'paa
The tone system of Meꞌphaa, an Otomanguean language (or group of languages)
spoken in the eastern part of the state of Guerrero, Mexico, is quite complex, largely
due to the complex agreement systems used with nouns and verbs. Aspects of the tone
system have been described to some degree for the Malinaltepec and Azoyú varieties,
but little has been documented about tone in other varieties. This thesis focuses on the
tone system of a less-documented variety, Acatepec, with the goal of broadening the
understanding of the tone systems of other Meꞌphaa varieties.
The thesis follows the methodology set forth in Snider (2013) by presenting the
underlying tone melodies found among different categories and classes of morphemes,
focusing on nouns and verbs, and how those melodies are realized in different
phonological and grammatical environments.
All nine possible melodies consisting of sequences of up to two tones from the
three-height system are found among disyllabic nouns. The /HL/ melody is realized
differently on nouns having /ʔ/ or /h/ foot-medially than it is on other nouns. The
melodies /MH/, /ML/, /LH/, and /LM/ are not found among monosyllabic nouns with
long vowels. Comparison with some other varieties of Meꞌphaa suggests these may have
been neutralized with the /L/ melody in these syllable profiles in Acatepec. Only the
melodies /H/, /M/, and /L/ are found among monosyllabic nouns with short vowels.
In most classes of verbs in the corpus, verbs having disyllabic stems have examples
of all underlying melodies except /LH/. Only the melodies /H/, /M/, and /L/ are found
among verbs that have monosyllabic stems. There is no difference in the realization of
the /HL/ melody between verbs having /ʔ/ or /h/ foot-medially and those that do not.
Comparing differences in the realizations of tone melodies of some nouns in the
Acatepec variety with corresponding nouns in the Malinaltepec and Huehuetepec
varieties has proven helpful.
Download thesis from http://arts-sciences.und.edu/summer-institute-of-linguistics/theses/_files/docs/2013-cline-kevin.pdf