Grammar report assignment #1 – Phonetics and Phonology

Grammar report assignment #1 – Phonetics and Phonology

IPA fonts can be downloaded for free from http://www.sil.org/ – DoulosSIL fonts are recommended
Here is a place to where you can type in IPA and copy if you don’t have the fonts on your computer:
https://ipa.typeit.org/full/
Here is the full IPA chart with sounds: https://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/content/full-ipa-chart
This is the first installment of the grammar project, which will make up 10% of your final grade. The
grammar project involves working with a grammar of a particular Indigenous language of the Americas
and compiling three assignments (2-3 p.) on key features of the language: phonetics/phonology,
morphology and syntax. The point of the Grammar project is that you familiarize yourself very well with
the structure of one language, and to learn how to read a grammar.
In advance of the first grammar assignment, you will need to select a grammar. Grammars of languages
of the Americas can be found in the PM section of the library, as well as in a large collection of
University of California Publications in Linguistics (P25 C25). Make sure your grammar is a reference
grammar and not a pedagogical grammar, and that it covers the whole language and contains enough
phonology so that you can have something useful to say about the phonology.
Guidelines
• The report should be 2‐3 pages long
• Include information on:
a. Language classification
b. Population of speakers
– You should be able to get this information from the grammar; if not, consult ethnologue.com,
which provides both classification info and population figures.
• Provide a consonant and a vowel inventory. Use the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
– Discuss any sounds that are recurrently found in the Americas, such as ejectives or pharyngeals,
as well as any gaps or relatively rare properties of the inventories.
– Be careful:
§ The symbols that authors use may NOT correspond to the IPA but may reflect other
transcription conventions used by Americanists. In CANVAS you will find a key for
transcriptions practices in the Americanist tradition and their equivalent in IPA.
§ Note: Transcriptional systems may vary but should be internally consistent. A decent
reference grammar should have a section in the introduction explaining their orthography.
• What is the syllable structure? Are there any restrictions on what can appear in the coda or in
consonant sequences? You may find a chart of allowable sequences in the grammar you’re exploring.
Give examples.
• Does the language have stress? If so, how is stress placement determined? Does the language have
tone? If so, how many tone levels? Give examples.
• Provide some examples of major phonological processes in the language. Give examples to illustrate.
You do not have to write formal phonological rules. Put the description in your own words.

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