Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Otomi (Oto-Pamean, Oto-Manguean) is a small group of languages spoken in Mexico which has emerged as a linguistic family in recent times. In this paper, I study relevant changes in the number system of the Otomi languages. These changes constitute an interesting object of study to gain a better understanding of two main phenomena: aspects of language change involving the loss of the dual number; and the constraints on number agreement restricted to conjoining structures. I show that changes in the number system in the Otomi family have different outcomes depending on the dialectal area. Such outcomes include the loss of dual morphology through a semantic rearrangement where the old dual forms have become exponents of either paucal or plural number. In some of the varieties, the old dual is still preserved, but it is relegated to male speech as a token of partnership and camaraderie.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Dual; number systems; Oto-Manguean; Otomi; split conjunction
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