By McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff
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Extra resources for A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole
2. Nasal vowels Saramaccan has distinctive vowel nasalization. 2. for brief discussion of a small set of phonological environments where certain nasal vowels have been observed to significantly change their articulation). The distinctions among the front and back series of vowels are often more difficult to perceive under nasalization, in particular for each pair of mid vowels. Here, all phonemic nasal vowels are transcribed directly with a tilde. However, as mentioned above, most sources transcribe nasalization by means of silent “coda” nasal consonants (with an m before labial stops and an n elsewhere), analogous to the way nasalization is marked in French orthography.
Discusses their syntax. Here, we touch briefly upon their segmental features. Perhaps the most striking segmental feature of ideophones is that a handful of them allow a nasal coda of form m – otherwise the language only very rarely allows coda consonants. ’ Another noteworthy feature of ideophones, not surprising given their sound symbolic status, is that transcribed long vowels in ideophones are often extra long – of roughly comparable length to sequences of three or more transcribed vowels. Thus, “long” vowel transcriptions in ideophones are typically used to indicate a stylistically lengthened vowel rather than a “regular” long vowel.
With respect to consonant distribution, although ideophones draw on the same segmental inventory as non-ideophones, certain sounds are much more common in ideophones than in the rest of the vocabulary. For example, gb (but not kp) is quite characteristic of ideophones but otherwise not especially common. Though the distribution is less skewed, the same can be said for f and v, as well. Finally, the overall patterning of segments in ideophones of more than one syllable can be described as generally “repetitive” both because they often contain apparent cases of full or partial reduplication and because they also often show total vowel harmony.
A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole by McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff