Modern Nahuatl vowel length (was: Tecuaque)

Henry Kammler h.kammler at
Sat Sep 2 12:00:00 UTC 2006


I found Joe's example interesting:

> I said 'nimitztoca'
> and after clarifying that I didn't intend to *bury* him, he said,
> "you mean 'nimitzicanhuia'" [i.e., I apply behindness to you].

Would that mean that either the lexeme /toka/ "to follow" is obsolete 
in that particular dialect *or* that vowel length destinction has 
gotten lost so that /toka/ and /to:ka/ "to bury/plant" conflated into 
one homonymous wordform (ambiguity would then be avoided by using the 
mentioned metaphorical expression)?

I would like to go on asking the listeros whether we find modern 
dialects where vowel length distinction has diappeared (maybe under the 
influence of Spanish). With some native speakers it is really hard to 
perceive phonemic differences in vowel quantity but that might just be 
a problem of idiosyncrasies, mumblers vs. clear speakers in a way.

Ma nya,


Henry Kammler, M.A.
Institut für Historische Ethnologie
FB08 / J.W.Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
Grüneburgplatz 1 / 5.355
60323 Frankfurt a.M.
Fon: ++49-69-798 32251
Fax: ++49-69-798 33065

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