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Re: Tekem, the language (aka deriving verbs from nouns)

From:David Peterson <digitalscream@...>
Date:Wednesday, May 16, 2001, 4:33
In a message dated 5/15/01 8:28:26 PM, romilly@EGL.NET writes:

<< It would be nice if David would share some of his Haw. knowledge-- I'd be

curious to know about the status of /?/, which isn't always indicated in the

writing (predictable in some cases I think, e.g. between like vowels?);

similarly, how are the long or double vowels indicated nowadays?  The 19th

C. missionary script was not very satisfactory, and I seem to recall that

it's been brought up to date, what with attempts to encourage young people

to learn and speak the language. >>

    Basically, there are a whole list of vowels that are pronounced
"together" as opposed to inserting a glottal stop between them (things like
"ia" pronounced [ijA], "iu" pronounced [iju], and so forth).  If a
combination is naturally pronounced without a glottal stop, then an
orthographical ' is put in there to indicate the glottal stop.  Example:
"ia", [ijA] meaning "at, to, by, for, about, objective sign, indicator of
passive voice" (it does a lot of jobs), versus "i'a", [i?A], "fish".  But
yes, when two like vowels come together, a glottal stop is naturally inserted
in between.  Also, "ai" is a natural dipthong, so "Hawaii" is [hAvAj?i], or
[havAj?i].  And I pronounce that "w" as [w], just because I like the sound
better, and I've never found any book that says for sure whether it's [v], a
voiced bilabial fricative, or a labiovelar approximant.
    As for the long vs. short vowels, I didn't even know there was such a
distinction (save with the "a") until I got a better book (I don't have a
very good one).  They actually have a whole list of things.  I'm not finding
it, and I've got a bunch of stuff to do, but I have to return these books
before I leave!  Eep.  Anyway, they said something pretty strange, if I'm
remembering...  Something like "a" and "u" reduce to the same sound (they say
carrot, wedge, etc.  Lax, rounded, open-mid back vowel), and "e" and "i"
reduce to the same sound (probably [I]).  But...I just can't find that
section!  Wait!  Just found it.
    For "w", they say people on Kaua'i and Niihau tend to use [w], and people
on Hawaii tend to use [v] (if it's that--they don't say).  Then they list
some instances.  In the instances of "iw-" and "-ew-", [iv] and [ev] are
heard most often.  In the instances of "-uw-" and "-ow-", [uw] and [ow] are
heard most often.  In the instances of "-aw-" and "w-", both [w] and [v] are
heard interchangeably.  So, that's that on that (as of 1979).
    Now comes the part that really struck me as odd.  They say that long and
short vowels distinguish meaning, yet this book I'm supposed to be learning
from doesn't mark the distinction.  Am I supposed to guess?  Anyway, one of
the odd examples I see is that they list "kanaka" as being "man", and
"ka:naka" as being "men".  I thought you always had to preceed nouns with an
article which marks singular and plural.  They actually have a bunch of
minimal pairs.  Anyway, they say "e">[E]/_[l] or [n], and "e">[e]/elsewhere.
Wow...  They say utterance-final vowels are devoiced...  And they take their
consonants with them!  Whoa, too much...  Anyway, I hope that answers some
questions, though it will probably lead to others.  I'm busy, but I'll do my
best since these books are going home on Friday.