Dissimilation in Mösiehuali̱ (Tetelcingo Nahuatl): A Cognitive Grammar perspective

Statement of Responsibility:
Tuggy, David
pages 627-49
In Mösiehuali̱ obstruents dissimilate to h before identical or closely similar non-continuant obstruents (stops and affricates). The details of how this works out are complex, and it is very difficult to describe the alternation for all cases in a single statement of the rule. Stops behave differently from affricates, which behave differently from fricatives. different speech-style restrictions or permissions apply to different cases. In a positive exception in some people's speech, dissimilation takes place before a fricative. These data are problematical for a theory which assumes that since the same sort of thing is going on in these alternations they must be subsumed in one statement. Cognitive grammar would analyze this as a family of related generalizations (schemas). Schemas can coexist at different levels, and positing the highest-level generalization does not entail that all its sub-cases are necessarily of equal status, much less that they are excised from the grammar. Differing restrictions or permissions can be stated at the appropriate lower levels. In the positive exception, the highest-level generalization, uncharacteristically, acts productively, adding its sanction to that provided by other, closely-related, subpatterns. Thus Cognitive Grammar leads one to expect, and makes it easy to describe, the kind of structure this dissimilatory process in Mösiehuali̱ exhibits.
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Cognitive grammar
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Relation Text:
Augusto Soares da Silva, Amadeu Torres and Miguel Gonçalves, eds., Linguagem, Cultura e Cognição, Estudos de Linguística Cognitiva - Vol I. Coimbra: Almedina. 9789724022642
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