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Verbs table

gloss layer rec ind 1sg rec ind 2sg rec ind 3sg rec ind 1pl rec ind 2pl rec ind 3pl prs ind 1sg prs ind 2sg prs ind 3sg prs ind 1pl prs ind 2pl prs ind 3pl
bathe lexeme neboba meboba eboba laboba ulaboba eboba gabo dabo debo laboyi dolaboyi deboyi
bathe prefix n m zero la ula zero ga da d la dola d
bathe stem-initial vowel e e e zero zero e zero zero e zero zero e
bathe suffix ba ba ba ba ba ba zero zero zero yi yi yi
press lexeme nunanc’iʔba munanc’iʔba unanc’iʔba lunanc’iʔba ulunanc’iʔba unanc’iʔba gunanc’iʔ donanc’iʔ dunanc’iʔ lunanc’iʔyi dolunanc’iʔyi dunanc’iʔyi
press prefix n m zero l ul zero g do d l dol d
press stem-initial vowel u u u u u u u zero u u zero u
press suffix ba ba ba ba ba ba zero zero zero yi yi yi
run lexeme ninuba minuba inuba linulba olinulba inulba ginu daynu dinu linulyi dulinulyi dinulyi
run prefix n m zero l ol zero g da d l dul d
run stem-initial vowel i i i i i i i i i i i i
run suffix ba ba ba ba ba ba zero zero zero yi yi yi
say lexeme aygwaba ogwaba igwaba ałgwaba ołgwaba ilgwaba gagwa dogwa digwa ałgwayi dołgwayi diłgwayi
say prefix ay o i il ga do di doł dił
say stem-initial vowel zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero zero
say suffix ba ba ba ba ba ba zero zero zero yi yi yi

Chontal notes


  • Data on noun number morphology is taken from Turner (1966). He describes a very large number of different number marking operations, but does not provide an overarching analysis. Many of the different processes are phonlogically similar, and one suspects some larger generalizations may be possible. For the database we have made some cautious morphophonological generalizations, and eliminated what appear to be a few one-off irregularities.
  • The overall picture is of two main devices for number marking: affixation and stress alternations.
    • Generally it is only the plural which bears an overt affix, either a suffix or an infix, or both. Infixes involve either /ł/ or /y/. The actual realization differs across the data, e.g. we find ł>, <> and <oło>. It is not clear whether these represent different affixes or are phonologically predictable. In as much as there are not many examples we have conflated them.
    • Plural affixes appear to cause deletion of /ʔ/, both word-finally (aléwaʔ ~ aléwa-ł 'gourd bowl', or bánaʔ ~ baná-y 'river') and medially (fíʔno ~ fi<ł>no 'old woman'). This appears also to occur with the addition of vocalic suffixes, as in oʔf'áneʔ ~ oʔf'ané 'ear of corn', which would analyze as oʔf'áneʔ + -e, in as much as (i) stress advancement is characteristic of suffixation (see below), and (ii) while the addition of plural -e to a V-final stem usually leads to -Vye, there are no examples where V=/e/, suggesting that contraction may have occurred.
    • Suffixes appear to be associated with an advancement of stress towards the end of the word, while words with no plural suffix undergo stress retraction. Words with plural infixes display both patterns. In all these cases the presence or absence of a stress alternation is not automatic, and appears to be lexically determined (though there may be phonological conditions that we did not observe).

Orthographic notes

  • [ł] represents a voiceless lateral.


Richter, Gregory C. 1982. Highland Chontal Morphology: Some New Perspectives. International Journal of American Linguistics 48/4. 472-76.

Turner, Paul Raymond. 1966. Highland Chontal grammar. PhD thesis, University of Chicago.