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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Himalayan Linguistics is a free peer-reviewed web journal and archive devoted to the study of the languages of the Himalayas. It includes the series Languages and Peoples of the Eastern Himalayan Region, which incorporates the North East Indian Linguistics (NEIL) volumes.

Himalayan Linguistics

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Issues in the historical phonology of Gauri Jingpho

The aim of this paper is two-fold: (a) to argue that Gauri Jingpho, an underdescribed dialect of Jingpho spoken by small populations in hill tracts east of Bhamo, Burma (Myanmar), belongs to the Southern group within Jingpho dialects despite its superficial similarity to the Northern group; and (b) to provide phonological developments and a notable retention of Gauri phonology.

This paper classifies Gauri into the Southern group within Jingpho dialects on the basis of irregular phonological developments in which proto-final *-k and proto-prefix *n- dropped in some specific lexical items, and on the basis of not having all the four phonological innovations which all the Northern dialects share. This paper will show that the phonological similarities between Gauri and Northern dialects are due to shared retentions or parallel innovations occurred independently.

This paper also provides phonological developments in Gauri, which can be summarized as follows: *ph- > f-; *kh- > h-; *-k > ; *-k > Ø (sporadic);*-a > -o/*w- or *Ɂw-_ (sporadic); *-a > -e/*y- or *Ɂy-_ *-t or *-n. This paper also shows that Gauri is well preserves Proto-Jingpho medial *-r- as -r-, which has irregularly developed into -y- in some Jingpho dialects, on the basis of comparative evidence.

An Acoustic Study of Bodo Vowels

This study investigates the acoustic features of the vowels of the eastern variety of Bodo. Data collected from 12 speakers in the field, reading a list of Bodo words revealed that Bodo has six unique vowel phonemes namely, , /i, u, e, ə, o, a/ where the vowel /ə/ is a higher than a normal mid, central vowel. While vowel F1 and F2 are distinct in Bodo, F3 does not play any role. The claims about Bodo vowels are further strengthened by normalized vowel plots and Euclidean distances calculated for vowel pairs.

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Eat and drink – if you can! A language internal explanation for the ‘irregular’ paradigm of Tibetan za, zos, zo ‘eat’

Abstract: The paper discusses recent suggestions that Tibetan may originally have had a system of person marking, which could thus be reconstructed for proto-Tibeto-Burman. While self-evident traces of such person marking are clearly missing, the ‘irregular’ paradigm of the verb ‘eat’ has been taken as indirect evidence. This proposal, however, is in need of several further assumptions. The ‘irregular’ stem forms zos and zo, on the other hand, correspond to a regular, albeit obsolete modal derivation of ability in Old and Classical Tibetan.