By McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole
Bési ‘bus’; wéti ‘white’ vs. wѓ̗ti ‘law’ and bé ‘let’ vs. bѓ ‘red’; and kési ‘coffin’ vs. kósi ‘scold’ and kulé ‘run’ vs. ’ The vowel ѓ The vowel written here as ѓ is broadly transcribable as ܭ, that is, as a lower mid front vowel. This transcription is found in most sources, including Voorhoeve’s early (1959) work and subsequently. In orthographic systems of Saramaccan, this vowel has been represented as è (or as Č when also marked for high tone) and as ë. As noted above in the discussion of e, Saramaccan does not obviously show a tense/lax distinction in its vowel system and, therefore, at least given the present state of our knowledge of Saramaccan phonetics, we characterize the opposition between ѓ and e in terms of height, as a matter of convenience but not as a specific phonetic claim.
When elicited from one consultant this word showed nasalization as indicated in the transcription which, if an intervocalic glide were present phonemically, would be phonologically exceptional. ’ Near minimal pairs with v are wэ̗ ˾ du ‘proverb’ vs. vodú ‘snake type’ and awoo ‘old’ vs. avó ‘grandparent’ (see the section on v for discussion on why finding true minimal pairs involving v is difficult). Minimal pairs/sets with other similar consonants include: waakú ‘fish type’ vs. jaakú ‘ant type’; and wái ‘happy’ vs.
See the section on w as to why it may be reasonable to treat the w as non-phonemic in these sequences. ) As discussed above, in this grammar we have generally attempted to standardize the transcriptions in favor of indicating the presence of a glide between vowels when it is salient phonetically based on impressionistic evidence, although in doing this, we are not making any phonological claims. However, our transcriptions in this section are exceptional: for the purposes of describing the possible vowel combinations, we have assumed that glides that can be reasonably analyzed as being the automatic result of a transition between two vowels are not phonologically present and, in contrast to our more general practice, we do not transcribe them here.
A Grammar of Saramaccan Creole by McWhorter, John; Good, Jeff