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Morphophonological issues in the development of Huave language revitalisation materials

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Javier Moreno.

In this talk I will discuss some morphophonological problems that arise in the context of orthography development for the San Francisco del Mar variety of Huave, a language isolate of southern Mexico. There are only a few fluent native speakers still living, so currently we are creating pedagogical materials for L2 learners, who are L1 speakers of the regional Spanish. Within morphological paradigms, Huave has rampant phonologically conditioned alternations that create different realisations of what is lexically the same root. We have generally opted for transparent spellings at the expense of linguistic generalisation. The result usually mirrors Kiparsky’s (2018) “l-phonemic” level, the output of the lexical phonology, while also being compatible with Word-and-Paradigm approaches to morphology. Nevertheless, I show one place where orthographic abstraction can help lexical learning while also aiding pronunciation, thanks to L1 Spanish phonology. On the other hand, there are some contexts where it may be appropriate to represent gradient and/or variable phonetic processes. Overall, I aim to show how theory can help identify, systematise, and frame the available choices, even if many decisions are ultimately made on practical, learner-specific, and/or extralinguistic grounds.

Registrations will close on October 28th at 12pm. Direct link:

This talk is part of the Cambridge Linguistics Forum series.

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