Alternations of Zenzontepec Chatino

Alternations
Alternation name Description Examples Verbs
U
n V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P <> V > A
The verb occurs without an object argument, and there is no specific understood object. This is different from pro-drop cases where an understood object is pronominal and left out.
(12)
Ntesāʔwé nchakuūʔ.
nte-s-āʔwé
PRG.CAUS-TRN-split.in.half(.3)
nch-aku=ūʔ
PRG-eat=3PL
‘They are splitting (food) and eating.’
11
C
y V > A <> -e-k-(u-)-V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P
The causative auxiliary/prefix
-e- is added to a dependent verb that has potential aspect inflection. An external causer is added to previously transitive or unergative (active) event. The original S or A becomes an O argument.
(14)
Na nkwítząá ntekēkaku chaja jiʔį̄ na jnēʔé.
na
ART
nkwítzą=V́
child=DEM
nte-k-ē-k-aku
PRG-POT-CAUS-POT-eat(.3)
chaja
tortilla
jiʔį̄
RN
na
ART
jnēʔ=V́
dog=DEM
‘The kids are feeding tortillas to the dogs.’
13
C
y V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P <> y-V > S
<>
y-V > E/R > (jiʔį̄+)M/T
The intransitivizer prefix
y- is added to a transitive or active root. In some cases, like 'eat', the result is semantically an anticausative. In other cases, the A argument does the action with less desire or volition - i.e. less actively.
Only two verbs in the sample set undergo this alternation, but there are perhaps 10 more. The verbs 'buy', 'sell', and 'pay' all undergo this alternation.
(8)
Kii niī cháku na chajaá jā kenaʔa tī na chajaá ntōnēʔé.
kii
tomorrow
niī
now
ch-áku
POT.ITRN-eat
na
ART
chaja=V́
tortilla=DEM
CONJ
kenaʔa
many
EMPH
na
ART
chaja=V́
tortilla=DEM
n-tō-nēʔé
STAT-TRN.be.inside-gather(.3)
‘Tomorrow those tortillas will be eaten, because there are many of those tortillas piled up.’
1
C
y (u-)t/s-V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P <> y-V > S, where P of the causative corresponds to S of the intransitive.
A pair of verbs showing an equipollent causative/intransitive alternation are derived from a bound root of unspecified valency. The causative verb is derived by adding a transitivizer prefix,
t- or s-, along with the causative prefix u-, and the intransitive verb is derived by the prefix y-.

Instead of using "causative/inchoative", I use "causative/intransitive" for this alternation because in many cases, the action seems like it would require some agent, for example 'tie', 'peel' etc. In the intransitive forms though, the expected agent can not be expressed, except as possessor of the S, so I hesitate to use "passive" as well, though in many ways that label would fit.
(241)
Lēʔ wiʔ ntutakę̄ya jį̄.
lēʔ
then
wiʔ
there
nt-u-t-akę̄=ya
HAB-CAUS-TRN-burn=1PL.EXCL
jiʔį̄
RN(.3)
‘Then, we would burn it there.’
1
C
y V > S <> u-V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P

A transitive, causative, verb is derived by adding the causative prefix
u- to an intransitive root. The u-causative prefix usually also occurs on transitive verbs in the equipollent causative/inchoative alternation, in which case the root is unspecified for transitivity. Like the equipollent alternation, "inchoative" does not fit all of the time as a label because verbs like 'carry'/'get carried', 'cook'/'get cooked', and 'cut'/'get cut' would have some understood unexpressed agent.
Some transitive verbs contain the
u-causative prefix but do not have a counterpart of lower valency, and thus are marked as NOT participating in this alternation.
(48)
Jā tyánana nyatę̄ nu nu nu kujwi jnūwá nu tyána nyāʔā tula ʔnena jiʔį̄.
CONJ
tyána=na
POT.look.for=1PL.INCL
nyatę̄
person
nu
NOM
k-u-jwi
POT-CAUS-die
jiʔį̄
RN
nu
NOM
DEM
nu
NOM
tyána
POT.look.for
nyāʔā
HAB.see.2SG
tula
what
ʔne=na
POT.do=1PL.INCL
jiʔį̄
RN(.3)
‘Let's look for someone who will kill that one (snake) and who will look for, you see, what we are going to do.’
3
U
n V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P <> V > S, where S corresponds to the P argument
(58)
Jā lēʔ nkujwī tī nuwęʔ.
CONJ
lēʔ
then
nku-jwī
CPL-get
EMPH
nu
NOM
wiʔ
DEM
‘So that was gotten.’
2
C
y This applicative adds an object argument with benefactive or malefactive influence on that object. The relational noun lóʔō, also used to flag commitative or instrument NPs, is incorporated into the verb.
V > A <> V<
lóʔō> > A > (jiʔį̄+)P, where the A in the non-applicative corresponds to the A in the applicative.
(93)
Nkaxitilóʔō Jwaʔ jiʔį̄.
nka-xiti-lóʔō
CPL-laugh-RN.with
jwaʔ
Juan
jiʔį̄
RN(.3)
‘Juan laughed at him.’
4
C
y V > A > (jiʔį̄+)P > lóʔō+I <> V<I> > A > (jiʔį̄+)P
Verbs of hitting and 'sing'/'dance' undergo this alternation. Instruments that are incorporated are frequently body parts.
(118)
Ntekēkutzę xāláą̄ʔ jyą́ʔ nu ntēráyakaūʔ jyą́ʔ.
nte-k-ē-k-utzę
PRG-POT-CAUS-POT-fear
x-ālá=ą̄ʔ
POSS-dream=1SG
jiʔį̄=ą̄ʔ
RN=1SG
nu
NOM
ntē-rá-yaka=ūʔ
PRG-hit-wood=3PL
jiʔį̄=ą̄ʔ
RN=1SG
‘My dreams about people hitting me with a stick are frightening me.’
2
C
y V > A <> V > S
A verb root of unspecified valency is made active, where the sole argument of the verb is the source of the action, by addition of the transitivizer prefix
t or s-. The inactive counterpart is derived from the root by the intransitivizer prefix y-. In this case, the sole argument of the verb is not the source of the action and has no control. This is not a very widespread pattern, but it may have been at an earlier time. There are a few instances that are not found in the current selection of verbs.

This alternation is not directly related to the equipollent causative/intransitive alternation. However, a few bound verb roots do occur in three derived forms: (1) an inactive/intransitive form; (2) an active form; and (3) a causative form. These few verb roots participate in both alternations (the active/inactive one and the equipollent intransitive/causative one). As can be seen, BURN and PUT from our meaning list do this. However, it is not the case that all other verbs that participate in the active/inactive alternation also participate in the equipollent causative/intransitive alternation or vice versa. That's why I have them as two separate alternations.

The inactive verb of the active/inactive alternation is the same as the intransitive verb of the equipollent causative/intransitive alternation. The causative verb of the equipollent causative/intransitive alternation looks like the
u-causative prefix added to the *active* verb of active/inactive alternation. However, semantically it is the causative of the *inactive* one! Therefore, though one would imagine the three verb forms (inactive, active, causative) to all be derivationally related, it doesn't work like that semantically.
(240)
Ntētákę̄ na kiiʔ.
nte-t-ákę̄
PRG-TRN-burn
na
ART
kiiʔ
fire
‘The fire is burning.’
1