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Dissertation Information

Title: Topics in Mocho' Phonology and Morphology Add Dissertation
Author: Naomi Palosaari Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Utah, Linguistics
Completed in: 2011
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation; Morphology; Phonology; Anthropological Linguistics;
Subject Language(s): Mocho
Director(s): Lyle Campbell
Keren Rice
Judith Maxwell
Randall Eggert
Marianne Christison

Abstract: This dissertation is a grammatical description of several features of the
morphology and phonology of the Mocho’ language. Mocho'
(Motozintleco) is a Mayan language spoken in the Chiapas region of
Mexico near the border of Guatemala. It is moribund, with fewer than
30 remaining speakers, all over the age of 70 and bilingual in Spanish.
Mocho' is a language with several features of interest, but which has
not yet been the subject of a full linguistic description.

This dissertation, based on data collected during several field trips and
supplemented with unpublished data from previous researchers,
provides an overview of the grammatical structure of Mocho'. The
topics covered include phonology, loanwords, root structure, derivation
and inflection of the different word classes, and important discourse

Mocho' is of special interest in Mayan linguistics as well as linguistic
theory in general for many reasons. For example, Mocho' is one of only
four Mayan languages to develop a tonal contrast; the Mocho’ pattern
is unique and has developed recently. Mocho' has several
grammatical features which are unique in Mayan, including the
development of middle voice from Proto-Mayan antipassive marking
and the patterning of positionals, negatives, and syntactic markers of
direction, location, and motion. Mocho' has a split ergative system,
with ergative marking on third persons and nominative-accusative
marking on first and second persons. Mocho' also has unique patterns
of definiteness and evidentiality. This dissertation provides a
description of Mocho' morphological and phonological structure in
several areas, including those described above.