Appendix:Navajo roots and stems derivation


This appendix proposes an analysis of the patterns in which stems derive from roots. While comparison with other Athabaskan languages or knowledge in the Proto-Athabaskan reconstruction efforts may prove vital to a deeper understanding of the mechanisms at stake, it is not the goal of this analysis, which has a more statistical / synchronic focus.

For the purpose of this study, only the momentaneous aspect, the most pervasive of all, will be considered.

The root is conventionally represented by its momentaneous perfective stem, as it is the most conservative of all stems and preserves many of the root's original features (one exception is for closed short roots where original tone is neutralized, see below).

Phonological principlesEdit

Restrictions on tone, length and opennessEdit

  1. Short closed syllables are always low-tone (tone is neutralized).
  2. Open syllables must be closed by a glottal stop, except for high-tone short syllables.
Length Tone Open Closed
Glottal H D Fricative
short low ka kaʼ kah kad kas
high káʼ ←↑ káh kád kás
long low kaa kaaʼ kaah kaad kaas
high káá kááʼ kááh káád káás

Note: There are very few exceptions to these general principles: cha, zo, yaa/laa.

Restrictions on vowel qualityEdit

  1. e in short fully-closed syllables never occurs and raises to i: *kes > kis
  2. In roots with historically labialized onset or coda, short vowels are limited to o and i: *kʷes > kos.

Root typesEdit

Stem derivation is primarily dependent on the root's coda. Five types of roots can be distinguished:

  1. Open roots (∅-type)
    Historically ended in a vowel or diphthong, open roots are today either open (if short and high) or closed by a glottal stop. Sometimes a nasal (-) suffix appears in the perfective only.
  2. Nasal roots
    Historically ended in a nasal, these roots end today in a nasal vowel. Sometimes a dental suffix (-d) appears in the perfective. Also, in some occurrences, the vowel didn't nasalize and a consonantal -n survived.
  3. Quasi-open roots (K-type)
    Historically ended in a velar or uvular, quasi-open roots typically end in a glottal stop (not to be confused with the purely phonotactical glottal stop of open roots), or in the diphthong -ai (when the velar was palatalized).
  4. Dental-closed roots (D-type)
    Historically ended in a dental, these roots end today in -d, which also lenites to a glottal stop in the iterative stems.
  5. Fricative-closed (S-type)
    These roots end in -z, -zh, or -l. They typically devoice in stems other than perfective.

Stem permissible shapesEdit

The table below shows what shapes a stem can take depending on the root type and the mode. Only tone, length, and coda are considered here. Actual quality of the vowel, which may be affected by labialization, ablaut, or shortening, is not addressed.

The possible shapes of the optative for the open and nasal roots are by far the most difficult to delimit, even more so to predict based on synchronic data.

Type Coda IMP PERF FUT ITER OPT Comments
=FUT-h ? FUT-h = FUT replacing final -ł by -h.
Not always identical to IMP.
-n -ąąʼ
N -∅ -ąąh
=FUT-h ?
-d -ąąd
K -’ -aah
-ah =FUT =IMP vowel can be either
oral or nasal
D -d -aad
-ał -aʼ =IMP
S -l -aał
-ał =FUT =IMP
-z -aas
-as =FUT =IMP vowel can be either
oral or nasal
-zh -aash
-ash =FUT =IMP vowel can be either
oral? or nasal

Roots and stems tableEdit

Deriving imperfective stems from perfective ones is sometimes fuzzy. For example, while -CHʼIIZH has imperfective stem with a low tone (-ch’iish), -ZHIIZH with a similar rhyme, has a high-tone imperfective (-zhíísh).

Structure Stems Rhyme
Root I P F R O I P F I O R O
ʼÁÁZH -S ʼaash ʼáázh ʼash aash áázh ash
CHʼIIZH w -S chʼiish chʼiizh chʼish iish iizh ish
CHʼIL w -S chʼííł chʼil chʼił chʼił chʼííł ííł il ííł =F =I
DIZ -S díís diz dis íís iz is
KÉÉZ w -S kees kééz kos ees ééz os
LIZH -S líísh lizh lish íísh izh ish
MÁÁZ -S máás mááz mas áás ááz as
ZHIIZH -S zhíísh zhiizh zhish íísh iizh ish
GHAAZH w -S gháásh ghaazh wosh áásh aazh osh
GHÁÁZH -S gháásh gháázh ghash áásh áázh ash
GHAZH -S gháásh ghazh ghash áásh azh ash
WOD w -D yeed wod woł woʼ yeed eed od eed =I
DLOʼ -K dlóóh dloʼ dloh óóh oh
GOʼ w -K geeh goʼ goh goh geeh eeh oh oh eeh =F =I
DEEʼ -K dééh deeʼ dah dah dééh ééh eeʼ ah ah ééh =F =I
JÉÉʼ -K jeeh jééʼ jah eeh ééʼ ah
KAI -K kááh kai kah ááh ai ah
LOʼ -K leeh loʼ loh loh leeh eeh oh oh eeh =F =I
NAʼ -K neeh naʼ nah nah neeh eeh ah ah eeh =F =I
NAʼ -K nééh naʼ nah nah nééh ééh ah ah ééh =F =I
NEʼ -K nííh neʼ nih nih nííh ííh ih ih ííh =F =I
NIIʼ -K nííh niiʼ nih nih nííh ííh iiʼ ih ih ííh =F =I
TIʼ -K tééh tiʼ tih tih tééh ééh ih ih ééh =F =I
BĄʼ -N bįįh bą́ bįįł bįįh bą́ą́ʼ įįh ą́ įįł įįh ą́ą́ʼ =F-h
CHĄĄʼ -N chįįh chąąʼ chįįł chįįh chįįh įįh ąąʼ įįł įįh įįh =F-h =I
CHĄ́Ą́ʼ -N chįįh chą́ą́ʼ chįįł chįįh chą́ą́ʼ įįh ą́ą́ʼ įįł įįh ą́ą́ʼ =F-h =P
CHĄ́Ą́ʼ -∅ -n chééh chą́ą́ʼ chééł chééh chééł ééh ą́ą́ʼ ééł ééh ééł =F-h =F
CHĮ́ -∅ -n chííh chį́ chííł chííh chííł ííh į́ ííł ííh ííł =F-h =F
-∅ daah daał daah daah aah á aał aah aah =F-h =I
DĮĮD -N -d dįįh dįįd dįįł dįįh dįįh įįh įįd įįł įįh įįh =F-h =I
DLĄ́Ą́ʼ -N dlį́į́h dlą́ą́ʼ dlį́į́ł dlį́į́h dlį́į́h į́į́h ą́ą́ʼ į́į́ł į́į́h į́į́h =F-h =I
DǪǪD -N -d dǫǫh dǫǫd dǫǫł dǫǫh dǫǫh ǫǫh ǫǫd ǫǫł ǫǫh ǫǫh =F-h =I
DON -N dǫǫh don dǫǫł dǫǫh don ǫǫh on ǫǫł ǫǫh on =F-h =P
GHĄ́Ą́ʼ -N ghą́ą́h ghą́ą́ʼ ghą́ą́ł ghą́ą́h ghą́ą́h ą́ą́h ą́ą́ʼ ą́ą́ł ą́ą́h ą́ą́h =F-h =I
GHĄ́Ą́ʼ -N ghą́ą́h ghą́ą́ʼ ghą́ą́ł ghą́ą́h ghą́ą́ʼ ą́ą́h ą́ą́ʼ ą́ą́ł ą́ą́h ą́ą́ʼ =F-h =P
ʼĮĮD -N -d ʼįįh ʼįįd ʼįįł ʼįįh ʼįįh įįh įįd įįł įįh įįh =F-h =I
ʼĮĮD -N -d ʼįįh ʼįįd ʼįįł ʼįįh ʼį́į́ʼ įįh įįd įįł įįh į́į́ʼ =F-h
KĄ́ -∅ -n kaah ką́ kááł kááh kááł aah ą́ ááł ááh ááł =F-h =F
LAA -∅ lééh laa lííł leʼ ééh aa ííł
LĄĄD -N -d ląąh ląąd ląął ląąh lą́ą́ʼ ąąh ąąd ąął ąąh ą́ą́ʼ =F-h
LĮ́Į́ʼ -∅ -n leeh lį́į́ʼ leeł leeh leʼ eeh į́į́ʼ eeł eeh =F-h
ä -∅ nééh nééł nééh nééł ééh á ééł ééh ééł =F-h =F
NAʼ -∅ naah naʼ naał naah naah aah aał aah aah =F-h =I
NÁÁʼ -∅ nááh nááʼ nááł nááh nááł ááh ááʼ ááł ááh ááł =F-h =F
NEʼ -∅ neeh neʼ neeł neeh neeh eeh eeł eeh eeh =F-h =I
NEʼ -∅ neʼ neʼ niił niih neʼ iił iih =F-h =I
TĄ́ -N tį́į́h tą́ tį́į́ł tį́į́h tį́į́ł į́į́h ą́ į́į́ł į́į́h į́į́ł =F-h =F
TĄ́ -N tį́į́h tą́ tį́į́ł tį́į́h tą́ą́ʼ į́į́h ą́ į́į́ł į́į́h ą́ą́ʼ =F-h
TĄ́Ą́ʼ -∅ -n tááh tą́ą́ʼ taał taah tááh ááh ą́ą́ʼ aał aah ááh =F-h =I
TĄ́Ą́ʼ -K -n tááh tą́ą́ʼ tah tah tááh ááh ą́ą́ʼ ah ah ááh =F =I
TIN -N tin tin tį́į́ł tį́į́h tin in in į́į́ł į́į́h in =F-h =I
TĮ́ -∅ -n teeh tį́ tééł tééh tééł eeh į́ ééł ééh ééł =F-h =F
TʼEʼ -∅ tʼeeh tʼeʼ tʼeeł tʼeeh tʼeeh eeh eeł eeh eeh =F-h =I
TŁʼǪ́ -∅ -n tłʼóóh tłʼǫ́ tłʼóół tłʼóóh tłʼóół óóh ǫ́ óół óóh óół =F-h =F
TSĄ́ -∅ -n tsaah tsą́ tsaał tsaah tsaał aah ą́ aał aah aał =F-h =F
-∅ ááh ááł ááh ááh á ááł ááh =F-h
YAA -∅ yaa aa =F =I