Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John C. Crawford


This thesis describes, by means of a modified natural phonological model, the phonological component of the Chimalapa Zoque language spoken in southern Mexico. An analysis of the processes occurring in the production of Zoque speech has resulted in the conclusion that a system of interrelated hierarchically-ordered rules and processes exist which generate the speech output of a native Zoque speaker. Four distinct sets of phonological rules are described herein. Morphophonemic rules are those applied earlier to an abstract underlying form due to their grammatical conditioning and more radical changes. Following those rules are the careful speech allophonic processes which are physiologically motivated and which interact to produce the phonetic form that leaves the speaker's lips. When the Zoque speaker begins to talk faster and unguardedly, a separate set of co-existent casual speech allophonic processes are applied among the regular allophonic processes to produce a modified speech output. For those foreign words which find their way into a Zoque speaker's vocabulary, a special set of loan word rules are applied to assimilate unfamiliar forms into the regular Zoque phonological patterns. In addition to these four sets of rules and processes whose ordering relationships are summarized, there exist constraints on the segmental distribution within Zoque morphemes which are described axiomatically.

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