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By McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff

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Additional info for A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole

Example text

In work with one consultant, there seemed to be an almost complete lack of nasalization in the first vowel of fͅã̗ ti ‘animosity’ (and an n also appeared to be phonetically present in the recorded tokens after the a). This word has a variant form fela̗ ˾ ti, and the pattern of nasalization suggests perhaps the two vowels are not interpreted as being part of the same syllable even when the l is not found and indicates more generally that differential patterns of nasalization in long vowels or vowel combinations may be probative in determining the phonological structure of these patterns in some cases.

Wѓ̗ti ‘law’ and bé ‘let’ vs. bѓ ‘red’; and kési ‘coffin’ vs. kósi ‘scold’ and kulé ‘run’ vs. ’ The vowel ѓ The vowel written here as ѓ is broadly transcribable as [‫]ܭ‬, that is, as a lower mid front vowel. This transcription is found in most sources, including Voorhoeve’s early (1959) work and subsequently. In orthographic systems of Saramaccan, this vowel has been represented as è (or as Č when also marked for high tone) and as ë. As noted above in the discussion of e, Saramaccan does not obviously show a tense/lax distinction in its vowel system and, therefore, at least given the present state of our knowledge of Saramaccan phonetics, we characterize the opposition between ѓ and e in terms of height, as a matter of convenience but not as a specific phonetic claim.

Fési ‘face’ and bési ‘bus’ vs. bése ‘frog type’; dií ‘three’ vs. dѓѓ̗ ‘dry’ and mѓ̗ti ‘meter’ vs. mѓtѓ̗ ‘meddle’; and fiká ‘remain’ vs. fuká ‘distress’ and bási ‘boss’ vs. ’ The vowel e For our main consultants, the Saramaccan vowel e would appear to be broadly transcribable as IPA [e], that is, as a higher mid front vowel. Such a transcription is in agreement with Rountree’s (1972b) transcription of this vowel in a description of the Upper River dialect of the language. ) Voorhoeve’s (1959: 438) description of the Lower River dialect transcribed this vowel as [ܼ], suggesting a higher phonetic realization than what is implied by [e], and the vowel chart he gives further implies that e is not only lower than i but also further back in articulation than either i or ѓ.

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