Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John P. Daly


The phonological rules governing Texmelucan Zapotec verb allomorphy are presented here as part of the phonological component of a generative grammar of the type conceived of by Chomsky and Halle but modified by Stampe, Rhodes and others. This modified theoretical framework has been referred to as natural phonology. Basic to the theory of natural phonology is Stampe's observation that two distinctive types of phonological principles operate in natural languages: natural processes which are innate and rules which are learned. The natural phonemic level is seen to relate to these principles.

In section 1: Lower Level Phonology, those principles which operate below the natural phonemic level are discussed. They are natural processes. In section 2: The Phonology of Verb Irregularity, those principles which operate above the natural phonemic level are discussed. Segmental phonology is discussed first. Then suprasegmental phonology is discussed, Phonological principles which operate above the natural phonemic level are of three types: syntactico-phonological rules, phonological rules, and natural processes. Natural processes which operate above the natural phonemic level all involve contextual neutralization. In section 3: Morpheme Structure, surface structure constraints are discussed. These are are often violated in the underlying form and provide motivation for phonological rules. Thus they are expressed at the natural phonemic level.

The theoretical framework in which this thesis is written has given insight into some problem areas in Zapotec morphology. Of special interest is the section on suprasegmental phonology. In this section the phonological principles of tone perturbation which operate over the whole of the grammar are related to grammatical principles operating on verbs. A relationship is seen to exist between tone, laryngealization, glottalization and stress. This relationship led to an abstract analysis for tone on laryngealized and glottalized syllables.

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