A. Research Papers (Peer-Reviewed)

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    A Description and Linguistic Analysis of the Tai Khuen Writing System
    ( 2017-06-01) Owen, R. Wyn
    This article provides a description and linguistic analysis of the Tai Tham script-based orthography of Tai Khuen, a Tai-Kadai language spoken in Eastern Shan State, Myanmar. The language has a long history of writing flowing out of the literary and religious culture nurtured by the Lan Na Kingdom from the 13th Century onwards. Comparison of phoneme and grapheme inventories shows that the orthography is well able to represent the spoken language as well as ancient Pali religious texts. Apart from spelling conventions reflecting the etymology of borrowed Pali and Sanskrit morphemes, sound changes over time have also decreased the phonological transparency of the orthography, notwithstanding the need of some more conservative varieties which still preserve distinctions lost in other varieties. Despite the complexities of the script, the literacy rates in Khuen are remarkably high for a minority language not taught in the government school system.
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    The Historical Phonology of Kriang, A Katuic Language
    ( 2017-06-01) Gehrmann, Ryan
    This paper presents an analysis of the historical phonology of the Kriang language (< Katuic < Austroasiatic). Kriang is spoken primarily in Sekong province, Laos and may be divided into two primary dialects which I call Kriang Kaleum and Kriang Tha Taeng. A synchronic analysis of Kriang phonology is provided based both on my own field work and on the data provided by previous researchers. A description of the historical phonological development from Proto-Katuic to modern Kriang follows emphasizing especially the development of prenasalized consonants, long/geminate consonants and vocalic register in the modern language. Of particular interest is the non-canonical register assignment pattern evident in certain Kriang varieties.
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    Discourse Functions of Zero Pronouns in Tai Dam
    ( 2017-06-01) Dolphen, Itsarate
    The aim of this study is to explore the zero pronouns in Tai Dam on the basis of a discourse approach using Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG). The objectives of this paper are as follows: (1) to explore the syntactic distribution of zero pronouns in Tai Dam, and (2) to analyze the discourse function of zero pronouns in the narrative discourses of Tai Dam. The research data used in this paper were collected from the texts of Tai Dam folktales of the people living in Petchaburi Province in central Thailand. Five folktales were analyzed for the study. The main findings include the following: (a) Zero pronouns can occur in both Theme and Rheme positions; (b) In thematic positions, they function as unmarked topical themes; (c) As for discourse functions of zero pronouns in terms of co-references, the two types of co-reference of zero pronouns in Tai Dam include zero anaphora and zero cataphora; (d) The main discourse functions of zero pronouns are to signal an active referent in narrative discourse and to highlight a participant through emphasis.
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    Phonological Sketch of Helong, an Austronesian Language of Timor
    ( 2017-06-01) Balle, Misriani
    Helong is an Austronesian language spoken in Indonesia with three dialects: Pulau, Bolok and Funai. Helong Pulau has 17 possible vowel sequences and a simple phoneme inventory of fourteen consonants and five vowels. The glottal stop /ʔ/ has a limited distribution, primarily occuring in word-final codas. Several morphophonemic changes, including metathesis, indicate that /ʔ/ is like other consonants. There is also a morphophonological process where the nominalizing prefix /h-/, a voiceless glottal fricative, causes a number of consonants to assimilate to the voiceless phonation of the preceding consonant, seen in muki ‘haveV’ → /hm/ [m̥] m̥uki ‘wealthN’, and spirantization as seen in kokon ‘sweepV’ → /hk/ [χ] χokon ‘broomN’. The /h-/ prefix has no assimilatory influence when it precedes voiced stops, as seen in ˈbutu ‘tieV’ → ˈhbutu ‘bundleN’, ˈdula ‘writeV’ → ˈhdulat ‘pictureN’.
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    Phonological Sketch of the Sida Language of Luang Namtha, Laos
    ( 2017-06-01) Badenoch, Nathan ; Norihiko, Hayashi
    This paper describes the phonology of the Sida language, a Tibeto-Burman language spoken by approximately 3,900 people in Laos and Vietnam. The data presented here are the variety spoken in Luang Namtha province of northwestern Laos, and focuses on a synchronic description of the fundamentals of the Sida phonological systems. Several issues of diachronic interest are also discussed in the context of the diversity of the Southern Loloish group of languages, many of which are spoken in Laos and have not yet been described in detail.
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    On the Number of Voices in Madurese
    ( 2017-06-01) Jeoung, Helen
    Two voices have previously been documented in Madurese: an active voice, and a non-active voice with e- prefixed verbs. In this paper I examine the non-active voice, which has variously been called passive voice or object voice, and demonstrate that it is a canonical passive voice. Furthermore, I document the existence of a distinct third voice, an object voice similar to that of other languages of the area. The object voice is used in the polite register, but not in the familiar register, so the two-voice system in the familiar register differs from the three-voice system in the polite register. The registers are also differentiated by nominal extraction patterns: objects may extract in polite speech, but not in familiar speech. In view of these contrasts, I argue that the familiar and polite registers each operate with distinct sets of morphosyntactic rules, or distinct grammars.
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    Biliteracy across Scripts: Implications for Language Development in Southeast Asia
    ( 2017-06-01) Page, Christina
    Many minority language communities in Southeast Asia use the segment-based Latin alphabet. In order to provide ease of literacy acquisition, national governments may encourage or require the use of the partially segmental, partially syllable-oriented Brahmi-based national syllabet in minority literacy development. Evidence from research on biliteracy in other languages and scripts suggests that alphabetic reading skills provide a strong foundation for learning to read a syllabet once a threshold of linguistic competency has been reached. Use of the mother tongue for early literacy also supports successful learning through strong home-school relationships. This study suggests that secondary orthographies based on national or dominant scripts for school-based literacy may not support and possibly even inhibit literacy acquisition due to motivational sociolinguistic factors. Research to confirm these findings specifically in the Southeast Asian context is still needed.
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    An evaluation of So language vitality in Thailand
    ( 2017-06-01) Tehan, Thomas M. ; Markowski, Linda
    This paper explores the vitality and endangerment of So [sss] speech communities in Thailand. Beginning with a review of sociolinguistic survey results for five So communities in Thailand to ascertain the likely need for vernacular language development in So, additional data to cover the rest of the So community are provided. The language vitality of the So communities in Thailand is then assessed using Expanded GIDS and the Sustainable Use Model (SUM, Lewis & Simons 20152), an expansion of the Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (GIDS, Fishman 1991). This vitality model indicates that many So villages display vigorous language vitality whereas other villages are threatened by language shift. Some initial efforts at revitalization and language development show promise. Several additional activities are suggested to enhance the vitality of the language and help the So to resist the regional trend towards language shift to Northeastern Thai (Isaan).
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    A Phonological Comparison of Gamale, Sheram and Ghusbang – Three Kham Varieties
    ( 2017-06-01) Wilde, Christopher P.
    This paper compares the phonologies of Gamāle, Sheram and Ghusbāng, three closely related southern varieties of Khām. The vowel and consonant inventories, suprasegmentals and phonotactics of each variety is described in turn, after which the phonologies are compared. The comparison identifies the front rounded vowels /y/ and /ø/ in Sheram and Ghusbāng as being linked to the Gamāle labial-palatal approximants, and also suggests that the loss of the syllable-final glottal in breathy voiced verbs is the origin of the pitch contour present in Takāle breathy voiced lengthened verbs.