Browsing by Author "Wilde, Christopher P"

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  • Wilde, Christopher P (Helsingfors universitet, 2001)
    The purpose of this research was to analyse the phonological system of the Limi dialect of Humla Bhotia. Humla Bhotia is a Tibeto-Burman language that is spoken by approximately 4000 5000 people in the far northwestern Humla province of the Kingdom of Nepal. The language has not previously been the subject of analysis. The data base for this thesis was collected on two different dialects of Humla Bhotia in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, from February to May 2000. I had three language informants who speak Humla Bhotia as their mother tongue. One of the informants speaks the Upper Humla dialect and the other two informants speak the Limi dialect. In this thesis I have concentrated on the phonology of the dialect of Limi but occasionally I also make reference to the Upper Humla dialect. The Limi data base consists of 600 words elicited in isolation, sentences where words have been checked for consonantal and pitch variation, and five texts comprising 117 sentences. Firstly, I have studied the geographical location, population and dialects of Humla Bhotia. Five dialects were identified: Limi, Upper Humla, La Yakba, Nyinba and Humli Khyampa. Information on the dialect areas is based on the accounts of seven mother tongue speakers of the language and on Nancy Levine s (1988) anthropological research of the ethnic group Nyinba. Secondly, I have analysed the phonological system of Limi from the viewpoint of American stucturalism much along the lines followed by Pike 1966 [1947] ja 1967 [1948]. In defining the prosodic elements I have also used acoustic analysis. In the Limi dialect there are 7 vowel phonemes. No vowel clusters occur within the same syllable. In this preliminary analysis 29 contrastive plosives, 8 affricates and 5 6 fricatives were found. The data also revealed 4 nasal phonemes, two rhotic phonemes, one lateral phoneme and two central approximants. Further research is however called for to check the phonemic status of these segments. Four contrastive prosodic elements were encountered: nasalisation, length, phonation type and pitch movement. There are two contrastive types of phonation: tense and lax. Many words were found with a third type of phonation, modal phonation. How modal phonation relates to the prosodic system is unclear at this stage and is therefore left for further research to determine. There are two contrastive pitch movement tonemes: a rising toneme and falling toneme. The falling toneme occurs in free variation with a level pitch contour. Rising appears to be linked with lax phonation and falling with tense phonation.