Snach of linguistics project

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.

5 thoughts on “Snach of linguistics project

  1. I think it was Dr. Polk (?) at Summer Institute of Linguistics (Wycliff) who did a demo every summer in Norman, using one of the oklahoma native americans who spoke a dialect he had never been exposed to… on stage with the native he would systematically analyze the forms. syntax, phonetics, and in 40 minutes or so have a template for the language. amazing stuff. probably some tapes on file at wycliff. These Christians pioneered much of the practical methods of linguistics. GTB

  2. So that would be the Kenneth Pike who was the first president of SIL and one of the creators of tagmemics? A fascinating character, from the relatively little I know about him.

    I remember reading about those linguistic demonstrations he used to do…I think it was mentioned in a history of linguistics that I read as an undergrad.

  3. Fascinating since the eme and ewe have the same meaning in Kurdish… I have discovered that language relationships are so fascinating over here with this language especially… being both Indo-European and highly influenced by the Middle-Eastern language like Arabic…

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