By McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff
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Extra info for A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole
Da̗ ˾ ‘rapids’; hási ‘horse’ vs. ha̗ ˾ si ‘ant’ u/Ǌ háfu ‘half’ vs. ah‘ ܞgrass’; núsu ‘nose’ vs. njܞsu ‘news’ o/õ jajó ‘loose living’ vs. aj۲ ‘onion’; kóto ‘skirt’ vs. k۲tu ‘legend’ э/э˾ násэ ‘or’ vs. nasƭ̗э˾ ‘nation’; mэ̗sэ ‘mix’ vs. mэ̗ ˾ э˾sэ ‘never’ Examples of minimal or near minimal pairs/sets across short and long vowels for each of the vowel qualities are given in Table 6. 3. ) Generally (and perhaps exclusively), these extra long sequences are the result of a relatively recent sound change wherein intervocalic alveolars were deleted (see the section on l for further discussion).
However, this may be due, at least partially, to the fact that vowel quality, in general, remains fairly constant in both nasalized and nonnasalized variants of the vowel. Therefore, there are not major secondary cues for nasalization. The specific perception of weak nasalization word-finally may also be due to the frequent presence of a degree of devoicing in this position in elicitation contexts, which reduces perceptual cues to vowel distinctions more generally. When appearing preconsonantally, nasalized vowels (again, to the ear of a native English speaker) are somewhat easier to perceive since they typically sound like NC sequences.
Examples of long vowels for each of the vowel qualities are given in Table 5. Segmental phonology 19 Table 3. Examples of nasal vowels in Saramaccan VOWELS EXAMPLES ƭ asƭ̗ ‘vinegar,’ kwƭtí ‘banana type,’ sƭ̗kíi ‘body,’ sƭ̗ta ‘snake type,’ wƭ̗ ‘wine’ ͅ kele̗ ˾ki ‘chamber pot,’ pe̗ ˾ ‘pin,’ lͅtí ‘edge,’ te̗ ˾ ‘time,’ se̗ ˾si ‘since,’ ve̗ ˾tu ‘wind’ ѓ˾ dѓ˾kú ‘energetic,’ fѓ̗ ˾ ‘break off,’ hѓ̗ ˾pi ‘shirt,’ sѓ̗ ˾si ‘cent,’ wѓ̗ ˾wѓ˾ ‘fly’ ã ba̗ ˾ ku ‘bank,’ da̗ ˾ ‘rapids,’ fã ‘talk,’ la̗ ˾ ti ‘government,’ la̗ ˾ za ‘spear,’ pãpía ‘paper’ Ǌ ah‘ ܞgrass,’ gǊsá ‘pig type,’ hܞjã ‘nail,’ kܞsu ‘pillow,’ s‘ ܞswim,’ tǊtá ‘spit’ õ aj۲ ‘onion,’ k۲tu ‘legend,’ opi۲ ‘poison,’ p۲pa ‘tip of boat,’ tõ۲ ‘time’ э˾ hэ˾ ‘uproot,’ hэ˾jэ˾hэ̗ ˾ jэ˾ ‘insect type,’ kэ̗ ˾ ku ‘betray,’ sipэ̗ ˾ su ‘sponge,’ tэ˾э̗ ˾ ‘rodent type’ Table 4.