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Lesson #1 : Pronunciation and greetings
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Díhallai : Aluɂita w Kaplosii
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 23 Apr 2019, 22:00.

[comments] Menu 1. Introduction | ʔeɂaadakhe 2. Consonants | ʔoktasii 3. Vowels | Asusii 4. Phonology | Yaibelahs 5. Greetings! | Kaplosii 6. More vocabulary - Luŋŋiimis
[top]Introduction | ʔeɂaadakhe

Welcome to the first lesson on  Achiyitqan | Taɂossómma kadíhallai Aciyitqáka ! This lesson will focus on the most basic part of learning any language - learning to pronounce it. This will be based on the romanization ; the native Achiyitqan writing system, an abugida, will be covered in a later lesson. Achiyitqan is fairly easy for the average English speaker to pronounce, with only a few foreign sounds. Examples will be given throughout. We will also cover some dialectal differences, most importantly between Standard Achiyitqan and  Tsaavalu or South Achiyitqan. Finally, you will learn how to greet people in Achiyitqan.

Goals In this lesson, you will learn how to:
  • Pronounce consonants and vowels in most contexts
  • Tell apart dialects
  • Greet people in different situations


[top]Consonants | ʔoktasii

Standard Achiyitqan has 18 consonants. Of these, all but one (/q/) are found in at least some contexts in most varieties of English. Tsaavalu has 20 consonants, which are distributed slightly differently. In the below chart, bolded phones appear in only Standard, italicized in only Tsaavalu, and plain in both.

LabialDentalAlveolarPostalv.PalatalVelarUvularGlottal
Nasalmnɲŋ
Stopp bt dt͡ʃ k gqʔ
Fricativevðsʃ ʒɣh
Liquidsljw

For the most part, the romanization uses the IPA characters indicated above. However, there are some exceptions.

  • In both:
    • /t͡ʃ/ C c - cheese
    • /ʔ/ ʔ ɂ - ()uh-()oh
    • /ʃ/ Ɥ ɥ - should
      Some earlier texts may have ' for ɂ and x for ɥ
  • In Tsaavalu:
    • /ɲ/ Ñ ñ - ~onion
    • /ð/ D d - this
    • /ʒ/ J j - treasure
    • /ɣ/ G g - ~loch, log


Note that all consonants except /ɂ/ (glottal stop) can appear doubled (geminated). This means you pronounce it for a slightly longer time.

/q/ in both, and «ñ» and «g» in Tsaavalu, are similar to sounds in English but not exactly the same.

ñ is like a "ny" or "ni" in English, as in "onion." However, this is only an approximation. The Spanish sound "ñ" or the French sound "gn" are the correction pronunciations.

/q/ is similar to English /k/ but pronounced further back in the mouth, almost in the throat, with the back of the tongue against your uvula (the dangly bit). This sound is found in Inuktitut, Arabic, and many other languages. In order to pronounce it, try saying words like "keen, kit, key" and then words like "comb, cold, koi" and concentrate on how different the /k/ sound is between the two sets. You will find that in "comb" the tongue is farther back in the mouth than in "keen." Now push it even further back; it may now be /q/.

«g» (Tsaavalu) is similar to the sound some people make in the word "loch" or "Bach," but it is voiced. You can try to pronounce this by making a normal /g/ sound as in "good" and then holding it (much like if you try to hold a /t/ you might get an /s/ sound). Or, you can try voicing the sound in "loch" - for comparison, /f/ is the voiceless version of /v/. Bear in mind that in Standard Achiyitqan, «g» is just like the /g/ in "good."

And finally, a note about /h/. In English, /h/ is only pronounced at the beginnings of words (and at that, only sometimes). In Achiyitqan, /h/ is always pronounced, no matter where it is, and it is never part of a digraph (like English «sh» or «th»).

[top]Vowels | Asusii

Achiyitqan has five vowel placements, but each also come in long/short variations and can take high pitch. Long vowels can also have rising or falling pitch.

The basic (short, low pitch) vowels are written: i e a o u. These match their IPA (or Spanish) counterparts: /i e a o u/, similar to the English sounds in the words "beet, bait, bat, boat, boot." ( /i e/ are also pronounced [ɪ ɛ] (bit, bet) when found in a closed syllable.

The long vowels are written doubled: ii ee aa oo uu. In IPA, these are /i: e: ɑ: o: u:/. Long vowels are literally pronounced for a longer time than short vowels. Otherwise, long vowels are similar to their short counterparts, except for «aa» /ɑ:/, which is like the sound in "bot." In closed syllables, [ɪ: ɛ:] can also appear, depending on speaker.

The high vowels are simply pronounced with a high pitch: í é á ó ú. In Standard Achiyitqan, there can only be two high tones within a word, while in Tsaavalu, there can be multiple. This is similar to English stress but does not always have to have the associated loudness, it is simply a higher pitch (as in music, a higher note).

Long vowels (and diphthongs) can also display rising or falling tone, as in gaán /gɑ̌:n/ "whale," pronounced a bit like "gone?", or the word móos /mô:s/ "tree", a bit like "most" without the "t", and a falling pitch throughout. There are also long-high vowels, such as in tóó "see."

All vowel clusters are allowed in Achiyitqan except for /ao/ and /ie/, which becomes simply /a:/ and /i:/ respectively. (This rule does not apply when one of the sounds has a high tone). In Standard Achiyitqan, in slow-to-normal speech, vowel clusters do not diphthongize and are pronounced as parts of separate syllables. In dialects and rapid speech, diphthongization may occur.

[top]Phonology | Yaibelahs

This section explains some sound changes that occur in the language.

  • /n/ assimilates to adjacent nasals; /laŋnun/ "with someone" [laŋ:un]
  • (Tsaavalu only) Nasal assimilation - all nasals assimilate to following obstruents: /nkiht/ "sausage" [ŋkɪht]
  • /ŋ/ → [ɴ] before /q/ ; /eŋqe/ "strange" [ɛɴqe]
  • Final nasal devoicing after fricatives: /dilisn/ "get dressed" [dɪlɪsn̥]
  • /gi/ /ge/ → [d͡ʒ] (English "j" or soft "g") before other vowels; gia "catch" [d͡ʒa]
  • (Standard) Glide deletion - /j w/ delete after consonants, lengthening the following vowel ; imya "king" [ɪma:]
    • There may remain a 'trace' of the original glide, e.g. in a word like /sapju/, [sapi:] might be produced.
    • exception - both glides can be made long, and do not delete after themselves!

  • /s/ → [ʃ] word-finally after /i/; /kulis/ "pattern" [kulɪʃ]
  • in /s-ʃ/ clusters, the second sound assimilates to the first ; /skiɥsuq/ "thick skin" [skɪʃ:uq]
  • /h/ assimilation
    • /h/ → [ɸ] between round vowels and bilabials : /duhp/ "bladder" [duɸp]
    • /h/ → [ɕ] before front vowels (/i e/) : /mohin/ "round" [moɕɪn]
    • /h/ → [x] before /k/ : /pihk/ "depsite" [pɪxk]
    • /h/ → [χ] before /q/ : /ohqe/ "entertainment" [oχqe]


[top]Greetings! | Kaplosii

Finally, now that you know how to pronounce everything, let's learn some things to say when you first meet someone! We'll start with a short dialogue, and explain it below alongside other greetings.

Situation: Hoɂsóm is at home. Niqpíiq, their new neighbour, knocks on the door. N: Qaitap ! Aciyitqaalutá ? Hello! Do you speak Achiyitqan? H: Íi ! Qaita ! Yes! Hello! N: Gigeadasap tsúqittqa. I just moved in next door. H: Gitaɂossónɂap ! Taa poostɂáh ? Welcome! What's your name? N: ʔip poóstɂah Niqpíiq. Ya ? My name is Niqpíiq. And you? H: Hoɂsóm taap. I'm Ho'sóm. N: Gitaghaín ? How are you? H: Gitagnayl. Ya ginameta'itá ? I'm well. And how are you? N: Gihanap ! Otakapla giníhsap. I'm good! It's nice to meet you. H: Ya taa. Maakitaná laŋpiw ? You too. Would you like to eat with me? N: Maníssapna, aun kihaŋiiɥap odaan. Yiŋa maaniillmanimmú ? I would like to, but I have to leave now. Maybe we could tomorrow? H: Íi ! Maaniilap. Yes! I will be able to. N: Niɂa ! Matatówɂis ! Good! See you later! H: Niŋkníhs ! Bye!
Glossary:
  • Qaitap / qaita - hello
  • Aciyitqa - Achiyitqan
  • alu - speak
  • -ta, ta-, taa - you
  • íi - yes
  • gi- - present tense marker
  • geadas - move house, relocate
  • -ap, 'ip - I
  • tsú - near, close
  • qitt - house
  • -qa - indirect object marker
  • ossón - want, welcome
  • poóstɂah - be named, be called
  • ten, taa, waa - was, be, will be
  • tag - here
  • (h)aín - cold
  • nayl - warm
  • name - feel (emotionally)
  • ɂita - how what method, what type
  • han - good, well
  • o- - to (infinitive)
  • kapla - meet (for the first time)
  • níhs - pleasure, pleasant, pleasing
  • ma- - future tense marker
  • aki - eat
  • -na - optative marker. "should, would like to"
  • laŋ- - with (person), alongside (comitative marker)
  • níss - want, enjoy, like
  • aun - but
  • kiha - immediate present marker ; now, right now
  • ŋiiɥ - need, require
  • daan - leave
  • yiŋa - possibly, maybe, might
  • aniill - be able to, ability
  • -ma - we
  • nimmu - tomorrow
  • niɂa - good, acceptable, decent, alright
  • tów - see
  • ɂis - soon, later on, recently
  • niŋk - today
For comparison, here is the same dialogue in Tsaavalu.
N: Qaitap ! Aciyitqáalút ? Hello! Do you speak Achiyitqan? H: Íi ! Qaita ! Yes! Hello! N: Tujadaspɂis tsúqittqa. I just moved in next door. H: Taɂossónɂp ! Tán poóstɂáh ? Welcome! What's your name? N: ʔip poóstɂah Niqpíiq. Ya ? My name is Niqpíiq. And you? H: Hoɂsóm taap. I'm Ho'sóm. N: Taghaín ? How are you? H: Tagnail. Ya nametɂitá ? I'm well. And how are you? N: Hanap ! Níhsap takaplo. I'm good! It's nice to meet you. H: Ya taa. Maakitná lampu ? You too. Would you like to eat with me? N: Manísapna, aun kihadaaŋŋiixp. Yiŋa maaniillmanimmú ? I would like to, but i have to leave now. Maybe we could tomorrow? H: Íi ! Maaniilp. Yes! I will be able to. N: Niɂa ! Matatóóɂis ! Good! See you later! H: Niŋkníhs ! Bye!


[top]More vocabulary - Luŋŋiimis

The word "hello" - Qaita
There are several different words that can be used to mean "hello" in Achiyitqan, depending on context.

The most common informal greeting is qaita, which also comes in the forms qaitas and qaitap. These are corruptions of the words qaigtaata, qaigtaahis and qaigtaap, literally meaning "there you(s)/I are/am."

Qaita is used to greet one person who has just arrived to an area or a group, while qaitas is used to greet an arriving group of people.

Qaitap is used when the speaker is the one who has just arrived and everyone else is already there. Rarely, qaitam may also appear, for when the speaker is among a group who has just arrived, but generally in this situation qaitap is still used.

In more formal settings, the greetings taa giisotóp (for one person) or his giisotópa (for several) are used. They translate literally to "you(s) are a welcome sight."

To welcome someone, you can say gitaɂossónɂap or gihisɂossónɂap, which roughly mean "I want/invite you(s)."

The verb kapla "greet" (or "meet for the first time") and the noun kaplo "greeting" are not generally used to actually greet someone (as in English "Greetings!"), but can be used to describe the event: itkaploap means "I greeted them." It can also be used for "nice to meet you."
Comments (2)
[link] [quote] 31-Jul-16 00:01
ФMaakpauean
Ángialuma !
 severy [ADMIN] [CWSP STAFF]  
@dendana (although I don't think mentions work in articles...)

Qaita ! Gigiilap (I am glad) aAciyitqánihsta. « Niɂa » atálu (means) « ok, alright, acceptable, decent ». Miinaapton. (I forgot earlier). Macolstuapbi ! (I will put it above.)
[link] [quote] 30-Jul-16 12:45
Lefties
Lefties unite!
 dendana [STAFF] [CWSP STAFF]
Qaitap! Aakdap, Sebeli! Aaciyitqaníhsap. What does 'niɂa' mean?
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