Karenic languages

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The Karen (/kəˈrɛn/)[2] or Karenic languages are tonal languages spoken by some seven million Karen people. They are of unclear affiliation within the Sino-Tibetan languages.[3] The Karen languages are written using the Burmese script.[4] The three main branches are Sgaw, Pwo and Pa'o. Karenni (also known as Kayah or Red Karen) and Kayan (also known as Padaung) are related to the Sgaw branch. They are unusual among the Sino-Tibetan languages in having a subject–verb–object word order; other than Karen, Bai and the Chinese languages, Sino-Tibetan languages have a subject–object–verb order.[5] This is likely due to influence from neighboring Mon and Tai languages.[6]

Karenic
EthnicityKaren people
Geographic
distribution
South-eastern Myanmar, Western Thailand
Linguistic classificationSino-Tibetan
  • Karenic
Proto-languageProto-Karenic
Subdivisions
ISO 639-2 / 5kar
Glottologkare1337[1]
Karen languages map.svg

ClassificationEdit

Because they differ from other Tibeto-Burman languages in morphology and syntax, Benedict (1972: 2–4, 129) removed the Karen languages from Tibeto-Burman in a Tibeto-Karen branch, but this is no longer accepted.[3][6]

A common geographical classification distinguishes three groups:

Northern
Pa’o
Central
The area of greatest diversity, including Kayah (Red Karen or Karenni), Kayaw (Brek), Bwe (Bghai), Geba and many more.
Southern
Pwo and Sgaw

Kayan (Padaung) is transitional between the northern and central groups.[7] The languages with the most speakers are Sgaw, Pwo and Pa’o.

Manson (2011)Edit

Manson (2011) classifies the Karen languages as follows, with each primary branch characterized by phonological innovations:[8]

Karen
  • Peripheral: proto-voiced stop initials appearing as aspirated stops (e.g. *p > pʰ)
  • Northern: merger of nasal finals (e.g. *am, *an > aɴ), merger of stop-final rhymes with the open counterpart (e.g. *aʔ, *a > a)
  • Central: vowel raising (e.g. *a > ɛ)
  • Southern: merger of nasal-final rhymes, with the rhyme subsequently raised (e.g. *am, *aŋ > ɔ)

The classifications of Geker, Gekho, Kayaw, and Manu are ambiguous, as they may be either Central or Southern.

Shintani (2012)Edit

Shintani Tadahiko (2012:x)[9] gives the following tentative classification, proposed in 2002, for what he calls the "Brakaloungic" languages, of which Karen is a branch. Individual languages are marked in italics.

Brakaloungic

However, at the time of publication, Shintani (2012) reports that there are more than 40 Brakaloungic languages and/or dialects, many of which have only been recently reported and documented. Shintani also reports that Mon influence is present in all Brakaloungic languages, while some also have significant Burmese and Shan influence.

The Kayan languages are spoken in Kayah State, southern Shan State, and northern Karen State. There are four branches according to Shintani (2016),[13] namely Kangan ("lowland dwellers"), Kakhaung ("highland dwellers"), Lawi ("South"), and Latha ("North").[14] Nangki (sometimes called Langki), documented in Shintani (2016), is one of the Kayan languages belonging to the Kakhaung subgroup. It is spoken only in one village.

Kadaw is spoken in Kayah State, and has nasalized vowels but no final nasal consonants.[14] It has more Burmese than Shan influence. Thamidai is yet another Karenic language.[15]

Luangthongkum (2019)Edit

Luangthongkum (2019) recognizes three branches of Proto-Karen, namely Northern, Central, and Southern, but is agnostic about how the three branches fit together.[16]

Karenic
  • Northern
    • Northern Pa-O
    • Southern Pa-O
  • Central
    • Kayan
    • Kayah
    • Western Bwe (Blimaw, Geba)
    • Kayaw
  • Southern
    • Northern Sgaw
    • Southern Sgaw
    • Northern Pwo
    • Southern Pwo

Note: Western Bwe Karen (Blimaw, Geba) preserves the implosives or preglottalised obstruents ɓ/ʔb and ɗ/ʔd, as well as voiceless sonorants such as hn, hl, and so forth.

ReconstructionEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Karenic". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  3. ^ a b Graham Thurgood, Randy J. LaPolla (2003). The Sino-Tibetan Languages. Routledge. ISBN 0-7007-1129-5.
  4. ^ "Burmese/Myanmar script and pronunciation". Omniglot.com. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  5. ^ "The Sino-Tibetan Language Family". Berkeley.edu. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  6. ^ a b Matisoff, James A. (1991). "Sino-Tibetan Linguistics: Present State and Future Prospects". Annual Review of Anthropology. Annual Reviews Inc. 20: 469–504. doi:10.1146/annurev.an.20.100191.002345.
  7. ^ Solnit, David (2017). "Eastern Kayah Li". In Thurgood, Graham; LaPolla, Randy J. (eds.). The Sino-Tibetan Languages (2nd ed.). Routledge. pp. 932–941. ISBN 978-1-138-78332-4. p. 933.
  8. ^ Manson, Ken (2011). "The subgrouping of Karen" (PDF). Southeast Asian Linguistics Society. Retrieved 2015-05-05.
  9. ^ Shintani Tadahiko (2012). A handbook of comparative Brakaloungic languages. Tokyo: ILCAA.
  10. ^ Shintani Tadahiko. 2018. The Thaidai language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 116. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  11. ^ Shintani Tadahiko. 2017. The Gokhu language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 111. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  12. ^ Shintani Tadahiko. 2017. The Blimaw language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 112. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  13. ^ Shintani Tadahiko. 2016. The Nangki language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 109. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  14. ^ a b Shintani Tadahiko. 2015. The Kadaw language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 106. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  15. ^ Shintani, Tadahiko. 2020. The Thamidai language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 126. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  16. ^ Luangthongkum, Theraphan. 2019. A View on Proto-Karen Phonology and Lexicon. Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society (JSEALS) Vol. 12.1 (2019): i-lii. ISSN: 1836-6821, DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10524/52441
  • George van Driem (2001) Languages of the Himalayas: An Ethnolinguistic Handbook of the Greater Himalayan Region. Brill.

Further readingEdit

Reconstructions

  • Jones, Robert B., Jr. 1961. Karen linguistic studies: Description, comparison, and texts. University of California Publications in Linguistics 25. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Luangthongkum, Theraphan. 2013. A view on Proto-Karen phonology and lexicon. Unpublished ms. contributed to STEDT.

Vocabulary lists

  • Shintani Tadahiko. 2014. The Zayein language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 102. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  • Shintani Tadahiko. 2015. The Kadaw language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 106. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).
  • Shintani Tadahiko. 2016. The Nangki language. Linguistic survey of Tay cultural area (LSTCA) no. 109. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA).

External linksEdit