So this has been intriguing me for years:
In 'Perspectives on the Quechua-Aymara Contact Relationship and the Lexicon and Phonology of Pre-Proto-Aymara', Nicholas Emlen mentions, citing Adelaar (1986) and Parker (1969), that "many Quechua roots appear to be lexicalized from morphologically complex constructions", e.g. this fascinating example:
miči- ‘to pasture’ miku- ‘to eat’
Which, hypothetically, could have come from an ancient root či and a reflexive suffix -ku, respectively, having been appended to an ancient monosyllabic verb root *mi- meaning something like "to eat" (?)
He also mentions, again citing Adelaar (2009), that several words beginning with [wa] that have to do with hanging, tying, or pulling. All of which I cannot help but associate with monosyllabic tonal languages where reliance on tone allows for that kind of short morpheme.
So my question is twofold:
Could the precursor to Pre-Proto-Quechua have belonged to a family of tonal languages with mostly monosyllabic words? That then underwent agglutination and subsequent de-tonalization due to contact with Pre-Proto-Aymara or some other cause?
Other than conjecture as part of a larger inquiry concerning contact between Quechuan and Aymaran over millennia, does anyone know of any research currently underway to use—I don't know, maybe tonal patterns in Quechuan clauses, or other lexical evidence—to try to wrestle some clues from the data as to the possibility of the precursor to Pre-Proto-Quechua having been a monosyllabic (possibly tonal) language?
Sorry for the lengthy question, but it's been bugging me ever since I stumbled on that paragraph years ago. Can't help wondering what relationships to other language families in the Americas that line of inquiry could reveal.
Thank you, as always, for your time and patience.
EMLEN, NICHOLAS Q. 2017. Perspectives on the Quechua-Aymara contact relationship and the lexicon and phonology of Pre-Proto-Aymara. Leiden University,
ADELAAR, WILLEM F. H. 2009. Modeling convergence: Towards a reconstruction of the history of Quechuan–Aymaran interaction. Leiden University,
ADELAAR, WILLEM F. H. 1986. La relación quechua-aru: Perspectivas para la separación del léxico. Revista Andina, 4 (2) (1986), pp. 379-426.
PARKER, GARY J. 1969. Comparative Quechua phonology and grammar III: Proto- Quechua lexicon. University of Hawaii Working Papers in Linguistics 1:1–61.