When there is a Y and when there isn't

Susana Moraleda susana at losrancheros.org
Mon Feb 11 18:13:22 UTC 2013

Sí. Todo está muy bien, pero...
Should one "complain" about people writing/pronouncing PIA and CHIA and 
telling them that in reality, in good classical Nahuatl, these words are 
PIYA and CHIYA? - What are we supposed to use as a valid argument? How 
are we so certain that they are so? -- I tend to make reference to the 
way in which their preterites are formed, i.e. OPIX and OCHIX versus 
OPIH and OCHIH -- In other words, how do we know (or how can we 
demonstrate) that these words in reality bear a Y??

No sé si me explico.

P.S. Joe, when you talk about "silla" you mention "in most other 
dialects".... but as far as I know, there are no "dialects" deriving 
from the Spanish language!

On 11/02/2013 00:24, Campbell, R. Joe wrote:
> Fran, Michael, and Everyone,
> notes on ia vs. iya
>   First of all, in Nahuatl both /y/ and /w/ tend to be deleted
> intervocalically when preceded by /i/ and /o/, respectively. In the
> case of /y/, this involves the deletion of one of two adjacent very
> similar segments.  In fact, [y] and [i] differ articulatorily only
> by syllabicity -- [i] is syllabic and /y/ is non-syllabic.  The same
> phenomenon occurs in the Spanish of Northern Mexico: "chair" is
> [si-ya] in most other dialects, but in Northern Mexico, it is
> commonly pronounced as [si-a].
>   In spite of the fact that Nahuatl might be said to lack the
> phoneme /u/ because it doesn't have a five vowel system, the /o/
> phoneme occupies the back, non-low space, and *behaves* in a way
> parallel to the /i/ phoneme -- that is, /w/ engages in the same
> tendency to delete when following /o/ (e.g., cempoalli (twenty)).
> One who doubts that "cempoalli" has an underlying /w/ should refer
> to the preterit form "onicpouh" [onikpow], 'I counted it'.
>   So, the rule that one is forced to adopt is that you can't
> believe your ears -- in the case of [ia] and [oa], the determination
> of the presence of /y/ and /w/ depends on morphological analysis.
>   As Fran pointed out, stems that *seem* to be "chia" and "pia" are
> really "chiya" and "piya" when the preterits "oquichix" and
> "oquipix" are considered.
> -------------------------------
>   The imperfect verb ending is -ya.  In the case of verbs whose
> stems end in -a, the [y] of -ya is preserved:
>   oquimacaya           he was giving it to him
>   ocacalacaya          it was rattling
>   oquinamacaya         he was selling it
>   oquiquinacaya        he was groaning
>   oquipacayah          they were washing it
>   ocaanayah            they each took hold of it
>   Likewise, the verbs in "-o":
>   otemoyah             they were descending
>   oquizoya             she was stringing it up
>   Passive verbs in -{lo} behave in the same way:
>   ocacoya              it was heard
>   omacoya              it was given
>   ohuicoya             it was brought
>   On the other hand, the [y] of the imperfect -ya is frequently
> deleted after verbs whose stems end in -i:
>   oquimacia            he was fearing him
>   onictecia            I was grinding it
>   oquimihcaliah        they were fighting against them
>   The "verber" suffix -ya which derives "becoming" verbs from nouns
> (which is what all "verber" suffixes do |8-) ) loses its /y/ after
> /i/:
>   timazatia            you become like a deer
>   titochtia            you become like a rabbit
>   nahtlehtia           I turn into nothing
>   atia                 it melts, it turns into water
>   cetiah               they become one, they unite
>   itztia               it becomes cold, it chills
>   But the presence of /y/ is revealed in preterits such as the following:
> (as Fran indicated)
>   oatix                it melted
>   oitztix              it became cold
>   Further, the fact that words like "tochtia" and "mazatia" do not
> really end in their apparent "-ia" endings is seen in their preterit
> forms.  Real "-ia" endings form their preterits by dropping their
> final "-a" and adding "-h", e.g., niteyollalia --> oniteyollalih.
> But note the following forms:
>   otimazatiac          you became like a deer
>   otitochtiac          you became like a rabbit
>   Their behavior is due to the fact that they don't really end in
> "-ia", but in "-iya", as has already been seen in the behavior of
> "atia" and "itztia".
>   (I hadn't really understood the meaning of Michael's note before
> I wrote this.)
> Joe
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