Phonetic structure in Yoloxóchitl Mixtec consonants

Christian T. Dicanio, Caicai Zhang, Douglas H. Whalen, Rey Castillo García

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


While Mixtec languages are well-known for their tonal systems, there remains relatively little work focusing on their consonant inventories. This paper provides an in-depth phonetic description of the consonant system of the Yoloxóchitl Mixtec language (Oto-Manguean, ISO 639-3 code xty), a Guerrero Mixtec variety. The language possesses a number of contrasts common among Mixtec languages, such as voiceless unaspirated stops, prenasalized stops, and a strong tendency for words to conform to a minimally bimoraic structure. Using a controlled set of data, we focus on how word size and word position influence the acoustic properties of different consonant types. We examine closure duration, VOT, and formant transitions with the stop series, spectral moments with the fricative series, the timing between oral and nasal closure with the prenasalized stop series, and both formant transitions and qualitative variability with the glide series. The general effect of word size is discussed in relation to work on polysyllabic shortening (Turk & Shattuck-Hufnagel 2000) and demonstrates the importance of prosodic templates in Mixtec languages (Macken & Salmons 1997). The prenasalized stop data provides evidence that such stops are best analyzed as allophones of nasal consonants preceding oral vowels (as per Marlett 1992) and not as hypervoiced variants of voiced stops (as per Iverson & Salmons 1996).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-365
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of the International Phonetic Association
Issue number3
Early online date12 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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