Restricting the Power of Cophonologies: A Representational Solution to Stem Allomorphy in Uspanteko

Björn Köhnlein, Yuhong Zhu


In Uspanteko, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala, certain possessive prefixes lead to variation in stress and pitch accent and can sometimes trigger vowel length alternations or consonant deletion in roots. We argue that this complex pattern of stem allomorphy can be successfully analyzed within a morpheme-based model of morphology given two assumptions: i. underlying representations can contain metrical templates (e.g. Saba Kirchner 2013, Iosad 2016, Köhnlein 2016, 2019 for recent proposals); ii. pitch-accent contrasts in Uspanteko are a surface exponent of a difference between trochaic (falling tone) and iambic feet (level tone), as proposed in Köhnlein (2019). We claim that our analysis is more restrictive than an earlier account by Bennett & Henderson (2013; henceforth B&H), who divide relevant items into several nominal cophonologies. In analyzing non-concatenative exponence as an epiphenomenon of metrical affixation, our approach is in line with principles of Generalized Non-Linear Affixation (e.g. Bermúdez-Otero 2012, Trommer & Zimmermann 2014).


Uspanteko; Stem Allomorphy; Stress; Pitch Accent; Metrical Affixation; Morpheme-based Morphology

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Copyright (c) 2019 Björn Köhnlein, Yuhong Zhu