A grammatical sketch of Upper Necaxa Totonac by Beck, David

By Beck, David

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1. Optative The most prevalent mood-marker in UNT is the morpheme ka-, which on its own marks the optative mood. Like the tense markers, ka- immediately precedes the subject personprefixes on the verb, although unlike tense affixes, ka- can optionally be affixed to preverbal adverbs, as shown in (77): (77) a. ’ 46 b. ’ ta–paÓ… INCH–lie:2SUBJ:PFV It is not clear what, if any, difference in meaning there is between the two positions of ka-. To date no examples of ka- affixed to adverbs have been found when more than a single adverb is present, nor has ka- been found affixed to other pre-verbal elements such as the negative morpheme xa…; particles such as mat ‘QUOTATIVE’, tßu… ‘DESPECTATIVE’, or tßi: ‘how’; or the relative pronouns ti… and tu….

SUBJ–UNR–work–IMPF ‘if you don’t pay me I won’t go to work’ To date my corpus does not contain examples of this kind of conditional sentence that do not also contain the negative particle xa… as well as ti-. Other conditional expressions are formed by the combination of the negative particle xa…, ti- and the optative morpheme, ka-: (89) a. SUBJ here ‘let’s go because if we don’t hurry all of us will die here’ b. SUBJ–INST–put–BEN–RPT–IMPF–2OBJ ADD–CLS–one 1PO–hand ‘if you don’t let me go, I will hit you with my other hand’ The same combination of affixes and the negative particle also yields expressions of unrealized possibilities, as in (90): (90) a.

X didn’t happen’), the future versus past tense readings being context-dependent. The combination of ti- and the negative particle is also used to form an indirect (polite) imperative construction: (86) a. ’ b. SUBJ porque because nak=xíku LOC=Xicotepec ‘you’re not going to bed here because weEXC are going to Xicotepec’ The literal meaning of these expressions seems to be ‘we/you are not going to do X’, but in context they have the pragmatic force of commands. Another use of ti- is in the formation of negative questions: 50 (87) a.

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