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Title: Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara) Phonology and Morphology
Authors: Caballero, Gabriela
Keywords: American Indigenous Languages (Northern)
Uto-Aztecan Languages
Choguita Rarámuri
Issue Date: 2008
Publisher: University of California at Berkeley
Abstract: This dissertation provides a detailed description and analysis of the phonology and morphology of Choguita Rarámuri, a previously undocumented Uto-Aztecan language, and investigates the interaction between these two components of the grammar in patterns that are of special typological and theoretical relevance. Based on a corpus of original data obtained through field research, this thesis presents phonological and morphotactic evidence for a hierarchical structure of the verb, consisting of six verbal domains. It is shown that this particular morphological configuration is pivotal in understanding the complexities of the morphophonological processes of this agglutinating language. This dissertation aims to fulfill two goals. The first goal, addressed in the first part of this dissertation (Chapters 2 and 3), is to make an empirical contribution and describe an endangered language without employing theoretical formalisms. These chapters contain the details of regular morphological and phonological patterns, while also addressing some of the widespread inter- and intra-speaker patterns of variation found in the data. The second part of this dissertation (Chapters 4-7) is devoted to a second goal, which is to shed light on how Choguita Rarámuri fits into the larger, cross-linguistic picture. In this second part, I analyze four phenomena that have significant implications for developing theories of the phonology-morphology interface: i) the morphologically conditioned stress system (which features an initial three-syllable window); ii) morphophonologically conditioned multiple exponence of derivational morphology; iii) outwardly conditioned allomorph selection; and iv) patterns of variable suffix ordering. These topics are analyzed under two main assumptions: i) morphophonological processes are intimately related to the word’s hierarchical structure; and ii) languages may contain several phonological sub-grammars pertaining to lexical class, morphological categories, or particular morphological constructions (Cophonology theory). Each particular topic is analyzed as part of a coherent whole, taking into account both the detailed analysis of the language and the adequacy of the formal tools provided by specific theoretical frameworks. The proposed nested structure of the morphology is exploited to understand the constraints on stress assignment, allomorph selection, and the limited appearance of multiple exponence and variable suffix order.
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