Phrasal tone domains in San Mateo Huave
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Phrasal tone domains in San Mateo HuaveMarjorie Pak mpakling.upenn.eduSpeech Lunch PresentationUniversity of Pennsylvani - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Phrasal tone domains in San Mateo Huave

Marjorie Pak

[email protected]

Speech Lunch Presentation

University of Pennsylvania

November 9, 2006

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Words with final H Words with final HLa. kàwák ‘chicozapote (fruit tree)’ a. kàwâk‘south’b. mów ‘grasshopper’ b. yôw ‘water’c. nàdám ‘big’ c. nàngân ‘sweet’d. nàšéy ‘man’ d. kôy ‘rabbit’


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tím šíkè [tàhàwás námbéór kòy] (< kôy)yesterday I see.1sg.pst black rabbit‘Yesterday I saw a black rabbit.’

tím šíkè [tàhàwás námbéór kóy tílám]yesterday I see.1s.pst black rabbit in.river‘Yesterday I saw a black rabbit in the river.’


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  • Noyer 1991

  • Syllable heads are stress-bearing units and are projected onto line 0.

  • The final segment of a word is extrametrical.

  • Line 0 feet are unbounded and right-headed; heads are promoted to line 1.

  • 1 * 1 * 0 (* *) 0 (*) nambeo<r> ‘black’ šik<e> ‘I’


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Noyer 1991

d. Inner cycle (NP): Line 1 feet are unbounded, right-headed. Promote heads to line 2.

2 * 1 (* *) 0 (* *) (*) nambeo<r> ko<y> ‘black rabbit’


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  • Noyer 1991

  • Outer cycle: Equalize stress (add a line 2 asterisk above newly-introduced words). Line 2 feet are unbounded, left-headed. Promote heads to line 3.

  • 3 * 2 (* *) 1 * (* *) 0 (* * *) (* *) (*) tahawa<s> nambeo<r> ko<y> ‘[I] saw a black rabbit’


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  • Noyer 1991

  • The line 2 foot is the domain for three tonal rules:

  • Lexical L Licensing: Underlying lexical L tone is licensed (linked) at the right edge of the line 2 foot.

  • Phrasal H Insertion: Assign H to the head (leftmost asterisk) of a line 2 foot. (If this syllable already has lexical L, a HL contour tone is produced.)

  • H Plateau (HTP): H spreads rightward within the line 2 foot.

  • At the end of the derivation, Default L is assigned to all remaining toneless syllables.


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Noyer 1991

line 3 *line 2 (* *)line 1 * (* *)line 0 (* * *) (* *) (*) tahawa<s> nambeo<r> ko<y> ‘[I] saw a black rabbit’Lexical L: tahawas nambeor kòyPhrasal H: tahawás nambeor kòyHTP: tahawás námbéór kòyDefault L:tàhàwás námbéór kòy


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Noyer 1991

Subjects (when overt) undergo their own outer cycle and remain phonologically separate from the vP:

line 3 x xline 2 (x) (x x)line 1 (x) x (x x) line 0 (x x) (x x x) (x x) (x x) nehi<w> tahawu<w> nakant<s> ola<m> ‘they’ ‘saw red sugarcane’

Lexical L: nehìw -- (cf. isolation òlám)Phrasal H: nehîw tahawúw nakants olamHTP: -- tahawúw nákánts ólámDefault L:nèhîw tàhàwúw nákánts ólám

nèhîw tàhàwúw nákánts ólám‘They saw red sugarcane.’


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  • Generalizations:

  • Each phrase (tonal domain) has exactly one H pitch peak.

  • This pitch peak may be realized on a single syllable or spread over several syllables.

  • There may be a series of L tones at the left edge of a phrase.

  • There may be at most one L tone at the right edge of a phrase.


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  • Question:

  • How are utterances parsed into tonal domains?

  • Does the subject always remain separate from the vP? If so, why?

  • What happens when the vP contains more structure (modifiers, double objects, etc.)?


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325 phrases of various types (SVO, VO, VOS, SV, VS, ditransitives, NPs in isolation, etc…)

5 native San Mateo speakers (4f, 1m, ages 14-45, all bilingual Spanish-Huave)

Interviews conducted in July 2004 and July 2006.

Most data elicited by providing Spanish phrase and asking for Huave equivalent; usually one repetition was requested.

24 sentences were read.


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Observation 1: The verb groups together with all following objects and modifiers.

[nèhîw] [tàhčúw nérráár yów námbéór íchwèàìk]they give.3p.pst hot water black monkey ‘They gave hot water to a black monkey.’ (vvv33)

[mìkwàl šèkòmbúl] [àpmúúč ákókíáw čípín óšép áágá nášéy kìàh]son.pos friend.1pos give.3s.fut five tomato tomorrow the man there ‘My friend’s son will give 5 tomatoes to that man tomorrow.’ (avv 31)


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Observation 2: Preverbal subjects and preverbal time/place adverbs form their own phrases.

[šíkè] [tàšèhpíùs] I bathe.1s.pst ‘I bathed.’ (zss11-12)

[nìngúy] [òlám] [ngò màtâng] here cane not grow‘Sugarcane does not grow here.’ (avv43)


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Observation 3: But postverbal subjects (and adverbs) group together with the verb.

[tàšèhpíúsá šíkè] bathe.1s.pst I‘I bathed.’

[nìngíy] [ngò màtáng ólám] here not grow cane‘Sugarcane does not grow here.’


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Occasionally, vPs are broken down into two domains:

[šíkè][sàngànéów cháw pópóš šówúy lángàn] [šíkè][sàngànéówcháw pópóš][šòwùy làngân]pro.1s drink.1s atole foam very sweet‘I drink very sweet foam atole.’ (zss44b)

In one case, a subject and a verb grouped together:

[nèhíw ákíándùw] pro.3p stick.3p‘ellos se pegan’ (they fight? they stick to each other?)(cg29-29)

But mismatched parses like (SV)(AdjO) are so far unattested.


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Postverbal subjects/adverbs are structurallycloserto the verb than preverbal subjects/adverbs.

Preverbal subjects/adverbs have moved to a clause-peripheral position (SpecCP).

[CPsubject [TP …verb object subject …]]

Anything below a predetermined cut-off point (e.g. TP) gets spelled out as a single domain; constituents that have moved above this point are spelled out separately.


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  • Questions:

  • What is the syntax of VOS sentences? (subject right-adjoined, VO raised to Spec,TP, etc…)

  • When are VOS sentences pragmatically felicitous?

  • Are there differences between preverbal and postverbal subjects wrt. scope, specificity, islandhood?