Consonant-Tone-Phonation Interactions in Guienagati Zapotec

Joshua Benn

´╗┐Guienagati Zapotec is one of three modern languages that comprise the Northeast Tehuantepec Zapotec (NETZ) subfamily. Like most Zapotec languages, Guienagati has a complex suprasegmental system involving contrastive tones and phonation types that both serve lexical and grammatical functions. There are also three types of codas: voiceless singleton, voiced singleton, and geminate. The distribution of coda type with respect to suprasegmental category of the preceding vowel is highly restricted. This study addresses the observation that geminate codas and voiceless singleton codas occur in complementary environments, despite evidence suggesting that the two consonant types are not allophonic. By comparing the three modern NETZ languages, the suprasegmental categories of Proto-NETZ are determined to have included breathiness in three environments: preceding geminate codas, and accompanying high tone or rearticulated phonation. In Guienagati, breathiness before geminate consonants was lost due to tonogenesis. Breathiness accompanying high tone and rearticulated phonation was lost due to the shift of [+spread glottis] rightward onto the coda, yielding the voiceless singleton series of consonants. This dual path to loss of breathiness helps to explain why voiceless singletons codas do not occur in the same environments as geminate codas.

DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2016-27

Cite as

Benn, J. (2016) Consonant-Tone-Phonation Interactions in Guienagati Zapotec. Proc. Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016, 125-128.

author={Joshua Benn},
title={Consonant-Tone-Phonation Interactions in Guienagati Zapotec},
booktitle={Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016},