John Sullivan idiez at
Thu Sep 18 21:32:26 UTC 2014

Mis estimados listeros,
	A problem we have all had is accepting the fact that, for example coyo:ni goes to coyoctli, then coyoctic; and chicahui/chicahua goes to chicactic. In other words, why does hu or n sometimes change to c? I have seen some explanations that point to historical phonological processes, but I think there may be a simpler explanation. We know that Nahuatl, as an agglutinating language has a smaller amount of word roots than other languages, and it uses derivational affixes to multiply versions of those word roots that can carry meaning. Probably the most basic and important derivational process in Nahuatl is verbing. A Nahuatl verbing suffix creates intransitive verbs only. Some look like they create transitive verbs, but it’s just because we are skipping over a step. Anyway, I think there is a verbing suffix that is not talked much about. It is -ca. This is the same -ca that has, for many centuries been supposedly immune to reduction, for example in cho:ca, even though we see now cho:cqui in Modern variants. This is also the same -ca that we see in all of those beautiful reduplications that go like this: coyo:ni, cocoyoca, coyo:nia:, cocoyotza. I think this verber, for some reason (maybe somebody can help with this), had two forms, -qui and -ca (this is where we get hua:qui and hua:tza, although I still don’t understand that process well), the same way that we have a -hui/-hua verber. Anyway, getting back to the argument, I have seen many examples now of derivations that don't seem to make much sense. For example, how come the applicative of cocoyotza is cocoyotzhuilia, when we know that the -hu probably came from an o. The answer is that this applicative is built on an unattested parallel version of cocoyotza, cocoyotzoa (It is unattested for this verb, but in many other forms, the two versions coexist). I went off on a tangent again. So what I think is that when coyo:ni is transformed into a patientive noun, what is actually happening is that an alternative, unattested version of coyo:ni, coyoca is used as the base for that transformation. The same goes for chica:hui/chica:hua, etc.
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