World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Xavante language

Article Id: WHEBN0000430987
Reproduction Date:

Title: Xavante language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Consonant, Velar consonant, Word order, Xavante people, Jê languages, Object–subject–verb, Languages of Brazil, Xakriabá people, Lojban grammar
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Xavante language

Xavante
aʼuwẽ
Native to Brazil
Region Mato Grosso
Native speakers
9,600  (2006)[1]
Macro-Ge
Language codes
ISO 639-3 xav
Glottolog xava1240[2]

The Xavante language is a Ge language spoken by the Xavante people in about 170 villages in the area surrounding Eastern Mato Grosso, Brazil. The Xavante language is unusual in its phonology, its ergative object–agent–verb word order, and its use of honorary and endearment terms in its morphology.

Phonology

The phonology of Xavante is described by McLeod (1974).

Vowels

Xavante has nine vowel qualities, long and short. Four occur nasalized, long and short.
Front Central Back
High i, ĩ ɨ u
Mid e ə o
Low ɛ, ɛ̃ a, ã ɔ, ɔ̃

/i/ is [iː] when long and [ɪ] when short. /e/ is raised after /r/ in a non-initial syllable. /a/ is a central vowel. It is a rounded [ɐ̹] in certain stylistic conventions. /ɔ/ is a mid vowel [ɔ̝ː] when long, and a more open [ɔ] when short. /u/ is [uː] when long and [u] or [ʊ] when short. /o/, /ɨ/, and /ɛ/ do not vary much. /ə/ is written ë in the orthography.

Consonants

Xavante has ten consonants, /p t c ʔ b d j r w h/. They are realized as,
Labial Coronal Glottal
apical laminal
Obstruents Voiceless s ~ tʃʰ ʔ
Voiced b ~ m d ~ n z ~ dʒ ~ ɲ ~ j
Sonorants w ɾ h

(Placement is approximate; /j/ varies between obstruent and sonorant, alveolar and palatal.)

Xavante is highly unusual in lacking velar consonants, except for the labio-velar approximant /w/. At a phonemic level, it arguably also lacks nasal consonants, which is less unusual in the Amazon. The language however has a high degree of allophony, and nasal stops [m n ɲ] appear before nasal vowels.[3]

Allophony

With so few phonemic contrasts, Xavante allows wide latitude in allophones of its consonants.

  • P and T: /p/, /t/ are aspirated [pʰ], [t̪ʰ] as syllable onsets (at the beginning of a word, between vowels, or before /r/), and unreleased [p̚], [t̪̚] as syllable codas (at the end of a word or before a consonant other than /r/).
  • C: /c/ freely varies among [tʃʰ, tsʰ, ʃ, s] as an onset, and [t̪ʲ, ʃ] as a coda (only preceding another /c/, as [tːʃ, ʃː]).
  • : /ʔ/ is a glottal stop [ʔ].
  • B: In a C or CC syllable onset before an oral vowel, /b/ is pronounced as a plain voiced stop [b] at the beginning of a phonological word, and as either [b] or as a prenasalized voiced stop [ᵐb in the middle of a word. Before nasal vowels, as C or CC, it is pronounced [m].
As a syllable coda, /b/ is pronounced [m] before /h/ regardless of the following vowel's nasality, and optionally also as [m] before the oral allophones of the other voiced obstruents, /d/ and /j/: [bd, bdʒ] or [md, mdʒ]. It is [m] before [ɲ].[4]
  • D: In a syllable onset before an oral vowel, /d/ is pronounced either as a plain voiced stop [d̪] or as prenasalized voiced stop [ⁿd̪]. Unlike /b/, it may be prenasalized at the beginning of a phonological word, not just as a syllable onset. Before a nasal vowel, it is pronounced [n̪].
As a syllable coda, /d/ is pronounced [d̪] before the oral allophone of a consonant, and as [n̪] before a nasal consonant.
  • J: In a syllable onset before an oral vowel, /j/ is pronounced [dz, z, dʒ, ʒ, j], in free variation. Before a nasal vowel, it is pronounced [ɲ].
As a syllable coda, /j/ is generally pronounced [j], and is nasalized to [ȷ̃] or [ɲ] after a nasal vowel.[5] It is also nasalized to [ȷ̃] before a prenasalized stop allophone. Between oral vowels, the sequence /jb/ optionally takes an epenthetic [d]: [jb] or [jdb]. When [ɲ] is followed by an /h/, a nasalized epenthetic schwa separates them.
  • R: /r/ is an alveolar flap, [ɾ], which is nasalized [ɾ̃] between nasal vowels.
  • W: /w/ is similar to English w, but not rounded before the vowel /i/.[6]
  • H: /h/ has no place of articulation, but is a voiceless transition between vowels.

Vowels do not become nasalized because of nasalized consonants, so the only consonants that become nasal are those in a cluster preceding a nasal vowel (and coda /j/ after a nasal vowel); a preceding oral vowel blocks the nasality from spreading to preceding syllables.

Phonotactics

Xavante syllables are of the forms CV, CCV, CVC, CCVC, CV:, and CCV:; that is, all syllables begin with a consonant, sometimes two; they may optionally either end with a consonant or have a long vowel. Although a syllable may end in a consonant, a phonological word may not, apart from a few cases of word-final /j/.

The attested initial CC consonant clusters are:

/pr br ʔr ʔb ʔw/.

All seven obstruents occur in final position, but in a maximal CCVC syllable only /p b j/ are attested. Across two syllables, the following CC sequences are attested:

/pp, pt, pc, pʔ/
/tt/
/cc/
/ʔʔ ʔb/
/bb, bd, bj, br, bh/
/dd/
/jp, jt, jʔ, jb, jj, jw, jr, jh/.

There are also CCC sequences such as /pʔr/ (coda /p/ followed by onset /ʔr/).

The vowels /o/ and /ɨ/ are rare, and not attested in maximal CCVC syllables.

Notes

  1. ^ Xavante at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Xavante". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ It can be argued either that these are nasalized allophones of the voiced obstruents, that is, that /b/ or /mb/ is pronounced [m] before /ã/, or that the voiced obstruents are denasalized allophones of nasal stops before oral vowels, with /m/ pronounced [mb] or [b] before /a/. The key point is that nasality is determined by the vowels, not by the consonants.
  4. ^ All voiced obstruents are presumably nasalized before all nasal allophones, though [mɲ] is the only sequence that is attested.
  5. ^ It is not yet clear when it is [ȷ̃] and when [ɲ].
  6. ^ As McLeod & Mitchell (2003:11) describe it,
    antes da letra ‘i’ é pronunciado como o ‘w’ inglês, sem arredondamento dos lábios e com um pouco de fricção. Em outros ambientes não há fricção e os lábios se arredondam mais
    "before the letter 'i' it's pronounced as the English 'w', without rounding of the lips and with a bit of friction. In other environments it doesn't have friction and the lips are more rounded"
    This would appear to mean that /w/ is a more-or-less typical labio-velar approximant [w] in most situations, with an unrounded semi-fricative allophone, approximately [ɣ˕], before the vowel /i/, though possibly a labially compressed velar [β̞ɣ˕] in that environment. McLeod (1974:4) had covered only the unrounded allophone:
    O fonema /w/ é um vocóide oral assilábico, não-arredondado posterior fechado alto sonoro.
    "The phoneme /w/ is an oral semivowel, unrounded high back [and] voiced."

Bibliography

  • McLeod, Ruth & Mitchell, Valerie. (2003) Aspectos da Língua Xavante. SIL publications, Cuiabá, MT.
  • Burgess, Eunice. (1988) Foco e Tópico em Xavante. Série Lingüística № 9, Vol. 1: 11-38.
  • Hall, Joan; McLeod, Ruth & Mitchell, Valerie. (1987) Pequeno Dicionário: Xavante-Português, Português-Xavante. Sociedade Internacional de Lingüística, Cuiabá, MT.
  • McLeod, Ruth. (1974) Fonemas Xavante. Série Lingüística № 3: 131-152.
  • Harrison, Alec J. Xavante Morphology and Respect/Intimacy Relationships.

External links

  • The Language Museum
  • SIL Brazil
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.