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Ahtna

(South Central Alaska; Na-Dene, Athapaskan)

Summary:
a. When a consonant follows the ts' (1st pl.) +c' (indefinite) sequence, metathesis takes place.
b. In the future-negative or optative-negative, the s/z occurs to the right of the gh or gho mode prefix when the subject pronoun slot is empty.
c. Verbs with the i transitional prefix in the future mode undergo metathesis when there is a zero subject pronoun.
Examples:
a. ts'/c' metathesis: When a consonant follows the ts' (1st pl.) + c' (indefinite) sequence, metathesis takes place. (See Additional info for further processes affecting these consonants.)

/c'+ts'+t+gh+l+dzes/ > i'staldzes (CLW) c'estaldzes (M)

CLW: Central, Lower, Western Ahtna
M: Mentasta Ahtna

cf. No metathesis before a vowel
'sc'eldzes'
'we are dancing'
'sc'aldziits'
'we danced'

b. z metathesis: In the future-negative or optative-negative, the s/z occurs to the right of the gh or gho mode prefix as the result of metathesis when the subject pronoun slot is empty. Also the z-negative prefix is always s before [.

z metathesis
surface form
/y + t + z + gh + dzaex + e/
gh s
[itasdzaeghe]
'he won't drink it'
/t + z + gh + es + dzaez + e/
---
[dzghasdzaeghe]
'I won't caulk it'

c. Transitional metathesis: "Verbs with the i transitional prefix in the future mode undergo either a metathesis, when there is zero subject pronoun, or a vowel reduplication, when subject pronoun is present." (Kari 1990)

a) t/d + i + gh + [ --> i + t/d + gh + [

/na # y + t + i + gh + L + taeL/
> nayitaLtaeL
'he will find him'
/na # y + t + d + i + gh + tiiL/
> naydidatiiL
'he will find it'

b) t + i + gh + X --> i + t + V + gh + X (where X is a prefix in subject position)

/na # t + i + gh + es + L + taeL/
> na'itaaLtaeL
'I will find him'
/na # t + i + gh + i + L + taeL/
> na'itighiLtaeL
'you will find him'
Conditions:
No information currently available
Motivation:
No information currently available
Related Information:
a. lenition: ts' and 'c are realized as 's and i', respectively, before a consonant.

/ts' + t + gh + yiiL/
> 'stayiiL
'we will eat it'
/c' + t + gh + yiiL/
> i'tayiiL
'he will eat something'

b. t deaspiration: In the future mode the t-inceptive prefix becomes d- if it is followed by V + d or a z -prefix.

/ts' + t + i + d + gh + l + ts'iiL/
> 'sdidalts'iiL
'we will stay'
/t + z + gh + es + tsiiL + e/
> 'ele' dzghaLtsiile
'I won't make it'
Symbols:
L = voiceless lateral fricative
'  = glottal stop 

Last Updated: 1/3/2008
References:
eliabeth hume's home page | OSU Linguistics home page