Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Many works have been published about the grammar and phonology of Mixtecan
languages, but relatively little has been written about the discourse features of these languages.
One of these areas of discourse where relatively little research has been done is
that of participant reference.
This thesis explores the features of participant reference in one Mixtec language,
Xochapa Mixtec, by examining the use of nouns, pronouns, and deictic phrases in eight
Xochapa Mixtec texts. The texts used in this research were transcribed from audio recordings
and then analyzed with respect to the participant reference forms they employed.
The thesis begins with a description of several relevant aspects of Xochapa Mixtec grammar
before describing in detail the different categories of participant reference and how
they are used. The analysis of participant reference forms employs ideas and terminology
from several different discourse methodologies, especially Givón (1983), Levinsohn
(1994), and Gundel, Hedberg, & Zacharski (1993).
This research reveals that Xochapa Mixtec uses noun phrases for activation and reactivation
of discourse participants, for disambiguation, and for highlighting. Determiners
and deictic phrases are used in continuing reference to activated participants, though use
of both the indefinite article and the definite particle is optional. Pronouns are also used
in further reference to activated participants, and some pronouns can be used outside their
usual noun class category in certain discourse contexts. There is sometimes alternation
between the use of animal and human pronouns for the same participant in a text. Finally,
Xochapa Mixtec has a special pronoun that is used for third person direct objects that play
the role of local VIP.
Cline, Laura J., "Some Features Of Participant Reference In Xochapa Mixtec" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 2395.