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I have a couple of weeks of class left, and a lot to get done in the meantime. This evening I’ve been working on my phonetics project, which, interestingly enough, is on a language that has not, as far as I or the “informant” from whom I am getting all my language information know, been heretofor documented much. It’s a Bantu language of the Congo and Western Gabon called Bateke, and it has no written form. Although it’s time consuming to listen and phonetically transcribe the words I’ve recorded my “informant” saying, it’s also very interesting. I am tempted to go into field linguistics based on this project alone. Here’s some vocabulary, in case you’re interested:

14. mother / ‘guRu /
15. father / ‘ta4a /
16. sister / ‘wa4i4i /
17. brother / ‘dumo /
18. daughter / mwana /
19. son / mwana o balaRa /
20. my / e mE /
21. your / e wE /

4= alveolar tap as found in Spanish “pero”
R= uvular fricative as found in French “rouge”
E= mid-front vowel as found in French “mais”
u= as in English “troop”
a= as in Boston English or French
o= monothong
i= high front vowel as in Spanish “si”
e= slightly higher than E, as in French “les”
‘=stress on this syllable

The language has no articles, few prepositions, and simple verb patterns, and, as you may be able to tell, the phonetics aren’t all that complicated, either. At least this is what my preliminary research tells me.

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