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Re: Chemehuevi orthography (was: Re: non-English WEB sites)

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Monday, April 28, 2003, 20:21
On Friday, April 25, 2003, at 04:06  PM, Roger Mills wrote:

> Dirk Elzinga wrote: > > (A lot of interesting material here, which I've snipped) > >> This inventory is pretty straightforwardly represented by the >> following >> orthography: >> >> p t ts (tc) k kw ' >> v r g gw >> s h >> m n ng >> m' n' ng' >> y w >> y' w' >> >> i ü u ii üü uu >> o oo >> a aa >> >> Three comments on the choice of symbols. >> >> i. My original proposal had <q> for [N] and <q'> for [N?]. These were >> rejected in favor of <ng> and <ng'>. Fine with me; it is an odd >> mapping. > > The only problem I can foresee: can /N/ and /G/ occur as a cluster? > (such > that "ng" could be ambiguous?) If the language is CVCVCV... (as it > appears > from exs.) then there's no problem.
The language isn't quite CVCVCV...; there are NC clusters. I originally had <q> for /N/ because I wanted to avoid this very ambiguity. However, the native speakers and the semi-speaker were very uncomfortable with it. I figured that /NG/ was an unlikely cluster in any language, not just Chemehuevi, so using <ng> shouldn't cause any undue hardships.
> And how about indicating /?/ with something that shows up a little more > clearly in typescript? Maybe "q" here?
There are many precedents (as you might suspect) for <'> as /?/, including the practical orthographies of the other Numic languages. So the <'> gives a little uniformity across the language family. I do foresee problems if there is a register which involves any kind of elision; <'> would be unavailable for representing it. The status of glottals in Central and Southern Numic is very unstable; perhaps best not to call too much attention to them :-).
>> All word medial vowels which were >> once voiceless are now fully voiced, and all word final voiceless >> vowels are now deleted, though they appear upon suffixation. Here's an >> example: >> >> [aipats] 'boy' >> [aipatsin] 'my boy' >> >> The _i_ of /aipatsi/ only emerges when a suffix like /-n/ is attached. >> We know that _i_ belongs to the noun stem since the quality of the >> vowel preceding the possessive suffix varies unpredictably with the >> stem; so for [aipats] the vowel is [i], for [naro?] 'shirt' the vowel >> is [o] ([naro?on] 'my shirt'), for [paGap] 'shoe' the vowel is [1] >> ([paGap1n] 'my shoe'), etc. > > Does the -n suffix have an underlying final V too?
Etymologically it does. Sapir shows _-nni_, _-mmi_, and _-aNa_ for first, second, and third person singular enclitic (possessive) pronouns; these are _-n_, _-m_, and _-N_ in Chemehuevi. However, the possessives are the very last thing to occur on a noun, so there is no way to determine what the vowels are now. I'm going to try some postpositions to see if that will smoke them out, but I'm not too hopeful.
> Interesting. Like you, I think I opt for not indicating them in > writing (of > course, in a dictionary you'd list something like "aipats(i), > pagap(ü)"). > Then too, your consultants may have other ideas.........
I am prepared to argue forcefully for their inclusion in a dictionary in exactly the form you show. For language learners, there needs to be some way of recovering the vowels so that inflection can be done properly.
>> This vowel deletion becomes particularly interesting when the >> accusative suffix is involved. The accusative suffix has the form >> -(j)a > > How do you know it's -(j)a, if the /a/ never appears? Comparative > evidence? > Or-- > >> [aipats] 'boy.NOM' (from /aipatsi/) >> [aipatsi] 'boy.ACC' (from /aipatsi-a/) > > What happens if the -n possessive sfx is added to an acc. form??? > Can you give an ex. of an a-final word? Would it be: > *kapit* '....', kapitan 'my ....', kapitay ?? '....(acc)' > and what for 'my .... (acc.)' ???
It's fairly clear that the accusative case suffix is /-a/ and that the /j/ is inserted following a stem-final /a/. I found a couple of instances of the accusative suffix appearing in full when followed by a clitic pronoun (though not a possessive; I would expect the same thing to happen with a possessive as well -- I just can't find them in the grammar). Hagakaya' ivantün ha'üsutuiy? hagaka -ya -' iva -ntü -n ha'üsutui -y which -ACC -you -PTC -NMZ like -PRES 'Which one do you like?' Nüü makayaang küaw magavü. nüü maka -ya -ang küaw maga -vü I that -ACC -him yesterday give -PAST 'I gave that to him yesterday.' Kupiaing tükatüava watsümpa. kupi -a -ing tükatüa -va watsü -mpa coffee -ACC -he table -at put -FUT 'He will put the coffee on the table.' These examples pretty clearly show that the vowel of the accusative is /a/.
> The problem of lost final V occus in an Indonesian lang. of my > acquaintance. > The first researcher chose not to indicate them in citation forms, but > then > had to include the definite or other context form, where they > reappear,e.g.-- > "hah" 'pig', "hahkje" def. (/hahi+ke/, regular metathesis; he was > Dutch, > hence "j" = [j]). > "sus" to weave "sustwahar" 'weave thatch" (/susu+tahar/)
So in effect he transferred the notion of principal parts of a lexeme from the classical languages to this Indonesian language. Hmmm. I like principal parts where there is a history for them (or no other way to tease out inflectional classes), but it seems to me that including the deleted vowel in citation form is a much more efficient way to describe this.
> But only CVC(V) roots and final /i,u/ were involved, not the whole > vowel > inventory as in Chemehuevi. (Final underlying /a/ was deleted in some > not > all cases; I forget offhand how he handled that)
Huh. I suppose that high vowels, being less sonorous, are more prone to deletion. The irregularly deleted /a/ on the other hand sounds like an interesting problem!
> More recently, an American in the field proposed writing such words > with a > final "y, w", which would not otherwise occur in CVC_# position. IIRC > the > speakers/writers didn't go along with the idea, perhaps because they'd > already learned to use the Dutch-devised system.
Inertia is difficult to overcome. Do the vowels ever show up as such, or are they always glides? Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "I believe that phonology is superior to music. It is more variable and its pecuniary possibilities are far greater." - Erik Satie