Sierra de Zongolica Nawatl is a Nawan dialect (Uto-Aztecan) spoken in the
mountainous region to the south of the city of Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico.
While the language is still the first choice in daily communication for most
people in the region, it tends to be weakened in urban settings by the ubiquity
The present study of verbal constructions is based upon a corpus of spoken
and written materials in this little studied dialect, while drawing upon the
handful of previous works. It is an example of how the elements of
morphological structure and their individual semantic content are subordinate
their communicative function, i.e. the use to which they are put in the
meaningful production of discourse. This is shown, by comparing the context
of the speech situation and the communicative task at hand to the structural
elements used to carry out that task.
The analyses presented here are by no means intended to be exhaustive,
just as the empirical material cannot aspire to be representative of any
speech community; rather, the intention is the creation of a panoramic
overview of one grammatical category, verbs, in a functional light in order to
create openings for further investigations.