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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2008-002

Number marking innovations in Zapotec

Author  Black, Cheryl A.

In Colonial Zapotec, only quantifiers were used to mark number on nominals (if it was marked at all), and all Zapotec languages still allow this normal quantifier construction. In addition, there were plural forms of the pronouns. Since that time, four types of innovations have emerged. The first three include: a plural proclitic or plural demonstrative with nominals, a verbal prefix which pluralizes the subject, and floating of the plural clitic to directly follow the verb. None of those innovations appear in the southern group of Zapotec languages. Instead, a more exotic and elaborate quantifier construction is used. The full distribution of this special number marking construction is analyzed and shown to have similar characteristics, both semantically and syntactically, to the Plural Pronoun Construction used in other languages.

  Number marking innovations in Zapotec
Published  2008
Languages  Zapotec, Isthmus [zai]
Zapotec, Santa MarĂ­a Quiegolani [zpi]
Zapotec, Yatzachi [zav]
Country  Mexico
Subject  Number
Keywords  plural; quantifier; Plural Pronoun Construction; Person; Hierarchy; Colonial Zapotec; Colonial documents; Number