CanIL EWP Volume 2 2016

Click on an article below to view a link to download a PDF version as well as view the abstract.

Casali, Rod. Jumpstarting Phonological Fieldwork

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This paper discusses the merits of constructing a particular type of phonological database, referred to as a core phonological database, during the very early stages of phonological fieldwork, and addresses in some detail the practical steps required to create such a database. A core phonological database is based on a wordlist with a target total of at least 1500 items. It includes sound files and IPA phonetic transcriptions, morphological marking and other types of information in an electronic format accessible using a dedicated phonology search tool. The time investment required to create a core phonological database is modest; under relatively ideal conditions, all of the necessary steps can be completed in a couple weeks or less. Once it has been created, a core phonological database can greatly facilitate the task of phonological analysis throughout the life of a language project. Many questions about the sound patterns of a language can be quickly and efficiently investigated. The process of checking and confirming phonetic transcriptions in the initial stages of analysis is also facilitated, and a core phonological database can serve as a valuable input to dictionary creation, language documentation, and written phonological descriptions.

Keywords: linguistic fieldwork, phonology, fieldwork methodology, wordlists, language databases, language audio recordings, audio recording equipment, audio recording methodology

Gardner, William. Morphophonemic alternations in the initial consonants of stems in Olunyole, a Luyia Bantu language

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Olunyole, a Luyia Bantu language (JE33), exhibits morphophonemic alternations in the initial consonants of stems following nasals. Some (but not all) of these alternations are similar to processes in other Bantu languages, e.g. Shona languages [S10], including Ndau [S15]. Understanding the linguistic context, both diachronic and synchronic, can help to explain this phenomenon.

Keywords: Olunyole, Bantu, Luyia Law, morphophonemics, noun class prefixes

Janzen, Jonathan. Lax̱a Galabe' Wałda̱m. Defining the word in Kwak̓wala

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In this paper I attempt to define the phonological word in the North Wakashan language of Kwak̕wala. I first define the phonological word to be one which has intuitive salience in the minds of fluent speakers. With this I argue that the phonological word is an identifiable unit for Kwak̕wala speakers. I further argue that there is some inconsistency in both the linguistic and community literature in Kwak̕wala in regards to the parsing of speech into words. This inconsistency always involves competing analysis of clitic morphemes, namely the accusative and oblique case markers χa and sa. I then provide three falsifiable tests to accurately assign phonological word boundaries. These are the stress domain, optional pauses, and self-repair. Applying these three tests to Kwak̕wala speech reveals that phonological word boundaries do appear between the case markers and their host stems, but do not interfere between any other clitic and their hosts.

Keywords: Wakashan, Kwak̕wala, phonological word, prosody

Deborah Nelson, Roderic Casali, Tina Ensz, Jill Francis, Donald Chomiak, Jonathan Janzen. A Preliminary Overview of Gonja Phonology

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Abstract: This paper summarizes the results of a preliminary investigation of the phonology of Gonja, a Guang language of Ghana. It treats the consonant and vowel systems, syllable structure and aspects of tonal phonology. Notable features of the phonological system include a nine-vowel system with ATR vowel harmony, phonemic vowel length, a wider variety of tonal patterns in the noun class system than has been reported in related Guang languages and some unusual syllable patterns involving complex [Cʔ] codas.

Keywords: Gonja, Guang phonology, ATR vowel harmony, vowel length, syllable structure, tone