Phonemic Inventory of Great Andamanese

Phenemic Inventory of Great Andamanese

Consonants

Manoharan (1989 pp:11) gives the following chart of phonemic inventory in Great Andamanese:-

Place of Articulation

Stricture-

Bilabial

Vl Vd

Alveo-Dental

Vl Vd

Alveolar

Vl Vd

Retroflex

Vl Vd

Palatal

Vl Vd

Velar

Vl Vd

Post-Velar

Vl Vd

Stop Vl. Vd.

p b

t d

ʈ ɖ

c j

k

Asp.
Slit

ɸ

x

Fricative Groove

s

Nasal  

m

n

ɲ

ŋ

Lateral  

l

Trill  

r

Semi-Vowel W

y

Table 3: Phonemic consonants in Great Andamanese (adapted from Manoharan, 1989)

Compared to the above table the following table (adapted from Abbi, 2006 pp:23) illustrates the consonantal sound inventory of Great Andamanese.

  Bilabial Labio-Dental Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar
Plosive

p b

t d

ʈ ɖ

ʈʰ

c

j

k

Nasal

m

n

ɲ

ŋ

Trill

r

ɽ

Fricative

ɸ β

(f)

s

ʃ

(x)

Lateral

lw

l

Approximants

w

y

Table 4: The Consonant Sounds of Great Andamanese (adapted from Abbi, ibid)

Out of these sounds, there are several which come only in particular cases and may not be phonemically distinct. The sounds that include in this list are /ɽ, β, ɸ, f, x, lw, y, and w/. Special mention must be made of one of the informants named Peje (58yrs circa 2006) whose phonemic inventory has some ‘aberrations’ as he frequently uses fricatives where other speakers use plosives. This aberration was noted in Abbi’s fieldwork during 2001 and also given as peculiar sounds in Abbi (2006) where it is clearly mentioned that the following sounds are in ‘free variation at the intra-community level i.e. within the same clan’-

[ɸ ~ pʰ ~ f]

[β ~ l ~ w ~ lw]

[kʰ ~ x]

[s ~ ʃ]

Even the retroflex trill [ɽ] is in free variation in the same way with the alveolar trill [r]. The phonemic status of the approximants again is not clear. However, Manoharan (ibid pp: 21) finds /w/ occurring medially and finally and /y/ occurring in all the three positions, Abbi (ibid: 24) finds these two sounds occurring in all the three positions. Thus, if we take into account all of this there will be a total of 22 phonemes, including the approximants. This is just one more than what Manoharan gives in the chart above. However the difference of sound segments thus comes as follows.

First of all, the /k/ sound to Manoharan is post-velar and not velar; however its fricative counterpart he says is velar, which he says is a groove sound. Another peculiar phoneme he reports of is the bilabial slit /ɸ/. We could not validate this sound, rather what was found to be phonemic was its variant aspirated. In fact, as no phonemic analysis of the language is done in this dissertation, it is bound to build on what the others have said. What was found in the data elicited was, like most of the Aryan languages of India, continuum of the aspiration feature in the voiceless plosives at the junctures of the bilabial, dental, retroflex and velar with just one exception at the velar position. One does not know whether this is a recent influence of Hindi used by the speakers there or was there from the earliest.

Vowels

There is a consensus on the number of vowels used in the language and these are the following:

Front Central Back

Close i u

Close Mid e o

Open Mid ɛ ɔ

Open a

Figure 3: Distribution of Vowels in Great Andamanese

The vowel graph shown above is corroborated by both Abbi and Manoharan. However, both of them do not use the terminology used up there i.e. they use the terms high and low instead of close and open to describe the tongue position during vowel utterance.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Eugene Chan
    Aug 20, 2007 @ 05:53:34

    Dear Dr. Narayan K. Choudhary,

    Greetings from Hong Kong! My name is Eugene Chan, I have been doing study on numeral systems and counting concepts of languages for many years.

    I am now working with Prof. Bernard Comrie on documentations of numeral systems of languages in the world, with special attentions on endangered numeral systems, as traditional numeral systems of small languages are susceptible to be replaced by dominant languages. I plan to upload the data on numeral systems from all languages available to a website hosted in the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany and I will share all the data to promote the research of small languages and document endangered numeral systems.
    I am still looking for data on Pnar, Great Andamanese and some poorly documented languages in India.
    I am very happy to find your informative blog, could you please kindly my e-mail? and I will tell you more about my project.
    Thank you very much in advance.
    With best wishes,

    Sincerely,
    Eugene euslchan@yahoo.com

    Reply

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