Prof. John Haiman's Cambodian: Khmer PDF

By Prof. John Haiman

ISBN-10: 9027238162

ISBN-13: 9789027238160

Cambodian is in lots of respects a regular Southeast Asian language, whose syntax at the least on first acquaintance turns out to approximate that of any SVO pidgin. On nearer acquaintance, despite the fact that, due to the richness of its idioms, the language appears to be like a forbiddingly alien kind of “Desesperanto” - a language of which one could learn a web page and comprehend each be aware separately, and feature no inkling of what the web page was once all approximately. Like a number of the languages of its genetic (Austroasiatic) relatives, its simple root vocabulary turns out to consist mostly of sesquisyllabic or iambic phrases, even supposing there are a huge variety of unassimilated borrowings from Indic languages (which appear to play an identical position in Cambodian that Latinate borrowings do in English). Morphologically, Cambodian has a reasonably complex procedure of derivational affixes, and it truly is attainable that the genesis of the various commonest of those affixes is said to (and undoes) the consistent aid of unstressed preliminary syllables in sesquisyllabic phrases. back like a few of the languages of Southeast Asia, Cambodian shows in its lexicon a penchant for symmetrical ornamental compounding, a phenomenon that's so marginally attested in Western languages that the phenomenon has obtained little cognizance within the typological literature.

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Hence [;)mna:c] is clearly morphologically('+ Vmn + a:c}. Ergo [a:c] is phonologically fa:c/, etc. Against the phonological recognition of initial glottal stop are the facts that: a. There are no words that begin with vowels: thus, there are NO minimal contrast pairs #V. and #'Y. in the language. The initial glottal stop (which is inaudible in word initial position in any case) seems to carry no functional load and to function as a "place-holder" only; 9 10 A Cambodian (Khmer) Grammar b. eut} ([b~nJka(S't]) "produce" becomes (pkaeut) ([phka 0 t]~[paka 0t]).

Eut} ([b~nJka(S't]) "produce" becomes (pkaeut) ([phka 0 t]~[paka 0t]). · ferent path, as if there were no initial consonant there in the first place. lf arnbeui were (ambeui}, we might expect to encounter forms which retained the initial consonant, such as "['hoi] or "['p'Q'l]. This never happens. (For comparable data in Surin Khmer, cf. Jenner (1974:67)). c. g. in the word written in the native orthography ('vej) [avaj] "something" and it is notable that there are orthographic variations in the native script where this word is written "with a vowel"9, to say nothing of the fact that in the spoken language only the reduced version (ej} ([ aj]) is common); and as I have indicated, the actual pronunciation of this and other words with orthographic (glottal stop + consonant) onsets has no phonetic [glottal stop+ consonant] cluster pronunciation of any type: What is written in the native orthography as ('heh) is pronounced [heh] "pssst.

Were it not for the Sieam Reap forms like [t159n] "catch/keep up with" in which the two vowels occur side by side within the same syllable, this would be an elegant and practical simplification. ~ (teuan}is Siam Reap-ese for (toan). ~ to Central Khmer (koat} "3 person, respectful~ (nyam) to Central Khmer {noan1) "lead, bring': 16. Cf. ~ rule in theN. Laos language Khmu: 17. According to Jenner (197 4: 65), glide insertion ill Surin Khmer is a more general phenomenon. pull-+ [p~l] "poisoll'). 18.

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Cambodian: Khmer by Prof. John Haiman


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