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Kisaangan phonology
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Jatú Ojikisáoka
This public article was written by severy, and last updated on 4 Dec 2017, 20:36.

[comments] Menu 1. Phoneme inventory & orthography 2. Nasal insertion and assimilation 3. Phonation changes 4. Miscellaneous changes Kisaangan has a relatively small moderately sized phonemic inventory, and fairly simple phonological changes. There are really only three main sound change processes in Kisaangan: nasal insertion, nasal assimilation, and phonation assimilation. However these few changes can combine to make a wide variety of surface forms, and although very predictable, the orthography combined with the sound changes can lead to some misleading spellings, like in the name of the language itself - Kisáoka - as [kɪsáɑ̃ŋga].

[top]Phoneme inventory & orthography

Pre-alv.AlveolarLateral~PalatalLabiovlearVelarUvularGlottal
Nasal[m]n[ɲ][ŋ][ɴ]
Stopt [tʰ d]t͡ɬt͡skʷ [kʰʷ gʷ]k [kʰ g][q]ʔ
Ejectivet't͡ɬ'kʷ'k'[q']
Fricativeθ [ð]s [z]ɬ [ɮ][ʃ] ʒ[xʷ] ɣʷx [ɣ]χ [ʁ]h
Liquidɾljw [ʍ]
The /ts/ affricate is not actually palatal or postalveolar, but did arise from historical /tj/.

FrontMidBack
Highɪ ɪ́o ó
Midɛ̃ ẽ́ ɛ̰̃̀ə̥ [ɨ̥][ɔ̃ ɔ̰̃̀]
Lowa áɑ̃ ɑ̃́ ɑ̰̃̀
Vowels can also be long, which allows for falling and rising tone.
The voiceless schwa may be voiced in some positions and/or by some speakers.


Orthography, where different from IPA:

  • /kʷ/ - qu, q
  • /ɣʷ/ - gu, g
  • /ʔ/ - ɂ
  • /t' s' t͡ɬ' k' kʷ'/ - ṫ ṡ ḷ ḳ q̇u
  • /θ/ - ŧ
  • /ɬ/ - ş
  • /t͡ɬ/ - ţ
  • /t͡s/ - ç
  • /ʒ/ - z
  • /x/ - j
  • /χ/ - x
  • /j/ - y
  • /ɪ ɪ́/ - i í
  • /ɛ̃ ẽ́ ɛ̰̃̀/ - e é è
  • /ə̥/ - '
  • /o ó/ - u ú
  • /ɑ̃ ɑ̃́ ɑ̰̃̀/ - o ó à


[top]Nasal insertion and assimilation

  • A nasal stop is inserted between a nasal vowel /ɛ̃ ẽ́ ɑ̃ ɑ̃́/ and a plosive. oku [ɑ̃nku], iteta [ɪtɛ̃nta].
  • There is only one phonemic nasal stop in Kisaangan, /n/, however it may appear as [m ɲ ŋ ɴ] depending on context. Before labiovelars, it becomes [m] ; before palatals and postalveolars, it is [ɲ] ; and before plain velars it is [ŋ]. anwa [amwa], inju [ɪŋxo], unji [uɲji].
  • This is also true of the nasal inserted after nasal vowels. kisáoka [kɪsáɑ̃ŋka], nzír [ɲʒɪ́ɾ]. Remember that labiovelars /kʷ ɣʷ/ trigger [m], not [ŋ].
  • In nasal-glide clusters, the glide deletes after nasal assimilation. owa /ɑ̃wa/ → [ɑ̃mwa] → [ɑ̃ma].


[top]Phonation changes

  • The stops /t k kʷ/ become aspirated /tʰ kʰ kʰʷ/ word-initially or after another obstruent and before a high-tone vowel. tásu [tʰáso], astí [astʰɪ́].
  • Between two vowels (except /ə̥/), stops become voiced. aki [agɪ], uto [udɑ̃].
  • All non-affricate obstruents /t k kʷ θ s ɬ x χ/ voice [d g gʷ ð z ɮ ɣ ʁ] after a word-initial nasal, or after a stop and a nasal. nkuts' [ŋgot͡sə̥], nquil [mgʷɪl], atnsúta [atnzóda].
  • The two naturally-voiced fricatives, /ʒ ɣʷ/, devoice [ʃ xʷ] after plosives. kzúnwa [kʃóma], átgui [átxʷɪ]. The /txʷ/ cluster may be realized as [tχʷ].
  • /w/ becomes voiceless [ʍ] before the voiceless vowel ' /ə̥/ or in contact with /h/.
  • /ə̥/ may be voiced [ə] by some speakers, especially near the segments /ʒ ɣʷ/ or in a cluster with another vowel. In other instances it may be realized as a syllabic [h], long fricative, or as exaggerated aspiration.


[top]Miscellaneous changes

  • /ɪ:/ and /o:/ become /ɪj/ and /ow/ respectively before another vowel.
  • /o/ is [u] finally and before /wC/
  • /ə̥/ becomes /ɨ̥/ before voiceless fricatives.
  • /ɑ ɑ̰̃̀/ becomes [ɔ̰̃ ɔ̰̃̀] after /a á/
  • /j/ is often realized as [ɥ] when touching labiovelars.
  • /s/ may become /ʃ/ word-finally after /ɪ/.
  • Velars /k x/, labiovelars /kʷ ɣʷ/ and /n/ assimilate [q χ qʷ ʁʷ ɴ] to adjacent uvular /χ/


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