Talk:Sereer Grammar

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This is the talk page for the Bari Grammar. The talk page is simply another wiki page, but one where you can speak freely about or comment on the contents of the main page without adding a bunch of "stuff" to the grammar itself.

  • Spelling for "Sere(e)r
  • Textgrid formatting
  • Lexicon formatting/organization
  • Additional pages? Spectrograms?
  • Phonology--comments so far



Notes on the phonemes so far:

  • The phones [h] and [χ] appear to be in free variation with each other, as well as [ɾ] and [r] with each other. Since the latter sound is made in careful speech in both cases, it may be best to suppose two phonemes /χ/ and /r/. Faytak 22:18, 20 September 2012 (UTC)
  • The palatal affricates [tʃ dʒ] and the non-glottalized palatal stops [c ɟ] may be allophones of a single phoneme, since so far [ɟ] seems to occur after nasal segments (e.g. dʒo: kanɟal "thank you"). Do we have similar data for [c]? Faytak 01:38, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
  • ʋ/β̞ is a bilabial (?) approximant. Faytak 01:38, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

There's probably justification to add a row for prenasalized voiced stops. Also, we haven't seen any evidence that i and ɪ, or u and ʊ, are contrastive. Might be a short/long alternation. Jevon 16:57, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

We sure have a lot of attested stops, but not a lot of minimal pairs for homorganic stops with the same voicing. How sure are we that, for instance, the implosive voiceless stops aren't simply how voiceless stops are realized in Serer? Our informant speaks multiple languages, so he would presumably be sensitive to interlanguage articulatory distinctions; perhaps there are fewer intralanguage distinctions. Jevon 15:40, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

For one thing, the "voiceless" implosive stops, when intervocalic, sometimes consist of a glottal closure followed by a normally voiced (if extra-creaky) implosive. (Some of them are definitely fully unvoiced, though.) The jury is out, but we seem to have a set of voiceless unasiprated stops that occur everywhere the voiceless implosives can, so I personally doubt they're one and the same. Secondly, I don't think it's the case that our consultant is especially sensitive to articulatory distinctions of the sort we're concerned with right now, because it is highly unlikely that a linguistically naive person would be able to tell you the differences among the various stop phonations we've encountered so far (his characterization of all of these, as well as the uvular fricative~[h] segment, is to point at his larynx). I'm not sure what multilingualism would do to help him/us on this count: just because I took French for six years doesn't mean that I intuitively understood what the difference between French voiced stops and English voiced stops was (nor did I actually produce them differently until the last year or so). It's also a bit unrealistic to expect him to be able to gauge our mimicry of his stops: hearing a production as close enough to his norm of production on acoustic grounds is one thing, but actually agreeing with our productions when and **only** when we make them exactly like we do is a task that I don't think we can expect anyone to perform better than chance at. Faytak 01:35, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Dental "t"

Pretty sure that dental t is not a separate phoneme. We haven't seen velar implosives, right? I don't think the palatal affricates and stops are contrastive. Then there's the "implosive l" heard in the word for "swallow." So I would eliminate those 5 phonemes from the chart, and tentatively add an implosive l, but I don't want to delete it without other people's input. These changes are reflected on the new Consonants page.--Jack

Agreed on all of these counts except for implosive "l", since it's my understanding that we only have one thing we think is an example of that. At that point it's just as likely to be an odd production on his part. Faytak 16:05, 26 September 2012 (UTC)

Tricky Sounds

Kelsey and I have been having a really hard time trying to figure out what our spectrograms mean for stops (ejectives and implosives in particular). What are the hallmarks of an ejective stop vs. a regular stop vs. an implosive stop? We have noticed that a lot many of the things that we have been writing as implosives have creaky vowels. Is this something particularly associated with implosives? But we have examples of creaky vowels accompanying non-implosive stops. Similarly for what we have been calling "tense" stops, is the double release of ejectives what we should be associating with these sounds? What cues have you all been taking to make these decisions?--Mel 03:59, 21 September 2012 (UTC)

Implosives are glottalized segments, so creakiness around them is expected. The "tense" stops don't seem to have the double release characteristic of some ejectives, but rather a simultaneous release of both the laryngeal constriction (whatever it is) and the supralaryngeal constriction. These could be a voiceless analogue of the implosives. It's not implausible that a voiceless implosive could exist, since a lack of vocal fold vibrations and a downward movement of the glottis aren't antagonistic. This would sound a lot like an ejective, though, and we can't actually tell whether we're hearing "ejectives" or "reverse implosives" or whatever else until we take some aerodynamic measurements of them. I might try this in a crude way with my next individual session. Faytak 01:11, 25 September 2012 (UTC)
To ID the voiced stops, I have been looking for more intense voicing in the closure of the stop, like **really** intense. Intervocalically, the same applies. Word-initially and -finally, and especially for the voiceless ones, it's a lot harder, but "tenseness" of the stop seems to be the cue I've been using (whatever "tenseness" actually means at this point is lost on me, too). I've also been looking at the vowels following these stops; most of them seem to have a funny little dip in intensity right after the burst before becoming normally loud. Faytak 01:11, 25 September 2012 (UTC)


This is where morphology talk should go.


Has anyone checked to see if these can be used adverbial without a noun? --Nico 22:07, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Yes, some can. I'll be sure to include discussion of it in the adposition section. Vmw 17:40, 13 November 2012 (UTC)


Do we have any information on quantifiers yet? --Nico 08:20, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

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