Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James Andrew Cowell

Second Advisor

David S. Rood

Third Advisor

Maria L. Thomas-Ruzic


Mezquital Otomi is an indigenous language spoken in central Mexico. There are many similarities and differences between Mezquital Otomi and Mexican Spanish. For example, Mezquital Otomi contains three phonemic tones, while Spanish has none. Otomi tones may resemble differences in pitch, vowel length, or stress to Spanish speakers. Phonemes in Mezquital Otomi but not Mexican Spanish include /ε/, /ʊ/, /ф/, and /ʃ/. Grammatically, both languages are nominative-accusative and fusional. The basic word order in Mezquital Otomi and Mexican Spanish is AVP. However, the former sometimes uses verbs for things that would be expressed by adjectives in Spanish. For example, "to be cold" is a verb. Furthermore, Otomi does not mark gender, while Spanish genders everything, even inanimate objects. Knowledge of Spanish would help learners of Otomi in some ways, but also present them with challenges.

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