Jianrong Yu, Adam King, Maria Flores Leyva, Santos Leyva, Heidi Harley
To appear in Proceedings of 21st meeting of the Workshop on Structure and Constituency in Languages of the Americas, UQAM, Montreal, April 1-3, 2016, UBCWPL
Publication year: 2016

We report on an automated extraction and analysis of lexical items from a digitized dictionary of Hiaki (Yaqui), which enabled the discovery of patterns in the distribution of word-final vowels according to lexical category. Headwords were extracted from a Microsoft Word dictionary file with a Perl script, then binned and counted according to lexical category and word-final vowel. There were statistically significant interactions between lexical category and word-final vowel, and a near-categorical prohibition on word-final [i] in verbs and word final [e] in adjectives. The exceptions were few enough in number that we undertook detailed item-by-item investigations of each, discovering that in the case of putative ‘verbs’ ending in [i], the dictionary-makers had miscategorized, misspelled, or otherwise mistakenly presented the forms. We present a theory that active Voice has an exponent [-e] in Hiaki, which coalesces with stem-final [i] verbs to yield surface [e] word-finally in free verb forms.