Upper Necaxa Totonac
University of Alberta
Upper Necaxa Totonac is a member of the Totonac-Tepehua family of languages spoken in East Central Mexico in the lowlands of Veracruz and the adjacent mountainous regions of the states of Puebla and Hidalgo. One of the smaller languages in the family, Upper Necaxa has around 3,000 speakers, most of them in their forties or older, living in three villages in the Necaxa River Valley in northern Puebla State, Mexico.
Upper Necaxa Totonac is a morphologically complex language featuring particularly rich inflectional marking on the verb. Active verb stems are inflected for subject- and object-agreement, four aspects, and three tenses, and the language has a wide-range of valency-altering affixes that includes two causatives and four applicatives. The language is also notable for its lack of prepositions and its use of bodypart prefixes on verbs to form locative expression and to localize the affected parts of event-participants, in many cases increasing the basic valency of the stem.
David Beck is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. He began work on Upper Necaxa Totonac in 1998 as a graduate student at the University of Toronto, and is currently compiling a trilingual (Totonac/English/Spanish) dictionary.
ISBN 9783895868214. Languages of the World/Materials 432. 120pp. 2004.