Tatari Faran: the Language of Fara


Phonology

Tatari Faran has a relatively simple phonetic inventory. It has only 13 consonants and 6 basic vowels.

In the following descriptions, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) will be used to describe the sounds of Tatari Faran. The IPA is a much more accurate way of describing language sounds than comparison with English, since English pronunciation varies greatly from one region to another, and not all sounds in Tatari Faran exist in English.

Consonants

The following table shows the consonants. Note that you will need a Unicode-compliant browser and the IPA fonts in order to see the IPA symbols correctly. The Orthography column describes the Roman orthography used to transcribe Tatari Faran. The speakers of Tatari Faran themselves actually use a different writing system to write their language. This native writing system is described elsewhere.

Classification Orthography IPA Comments
Stops Unvoiced pp These stops are unaspirated.
tt
kk
'ʔ The glottal stop, ala Hawai'ian. It is omitted from the orthography when word-initial.
Voiced bb 
dd The same phoneme as /r/; pronounced [d] when word-initial, and [ɾ] otherwise. The orthography reflects the pronunciation.
Nasal mm 
nn 
Fricatives ff 
ss 
hh 
Affricates jʣ 
tsʦ 
Flaps rɾ The medial form of /d/. See comments under /d/.

Note that Tatari Faran has no lateral consonants.

Vowels

The basic short vowels are shown in the following table.

Orthography IPA pronunciation
aa
eɛ
ii
ueɯ
oɔ
uu

In addition to these basic vowels, there are also the long vowels and glides shown in the following table:

Orthography IPA pronunciation
Long vowels aa
eiej
ii
uu
Glides aiaj
auao
iaja
iuju
uawa
uiuj

Phonological Constraints

Syllabic structure in Tatari Faran is CV(C). The only allowed consonant clusters are those where the first consonant is a nasal stop.

The only allowed final consonants in a word are: /p/, /t/, /'/, /m/, /n/, /f/, and /s/.

Euphony

Generally speaking, Tatari Faran dislikes putting together two words which would result in the same or similar syllables repeated many times. (However, this rule does not apply to intra-word repetitions.) For example, if the receptive case particles na, nei, and no follow a word that ends with na, they would mutate into da, dei, and do, in order to avoid the repetition [nana] that would result otherwise. There are also other euphonic considerations that give rise to inter-word mutations.

The following list describes the inter-word mutations that happen to preserve euphony.

Intonation

Intonation in Tatari Faran is determined by rules that select one or more words in a sentence or clause on which the accent would fall. Every word either has a fixed stress syllable or is inherently unaccented, and when the accent falls upon the word, it is always realized on the fixed stress syllable. Most words have a fixed stress syllable, but may or may not be actually accented in a sentence depending on the context. Words that have a fixed stress syllable are never accented on any other syllable.

Pitch Accent

Tatari Faran is pitch-accented, which means that accented syllables are indicated mainly by high pitch, rather than by emphasis, which is how English indicates stress. In general, each syllable can have one of three types of stress in Tatari Faran: primary stress, secondary stress, or no stress. Primary stress is indicated by high pitch; secondary stress is indicated by medium to low pitch, with emphasis; and lack of stress is indicated by low pitch without emphasis.

High and low pitches are not absolute, of course, but relative to the overall tone of the phrase or sentence. It is not the precise pitch that marks stress, but the overtly higher pitch relative to the rest of the utterance that conveys stress. Also, the surrounding pitches may change the shape of the high pitch, either to a rising pitch or a falling pitch. We will not describe pronunciation to this level of detail, however, as it is not phonemic.

Noun Phrases

The Head Noun

Consider the following simple noun phrase, consisting of the noun samat, “man”, which has its first syllable as the stress syllable, and the trailing masculine conveyant case clitic sa:

samat sa - [ˈsamat sa]
Man.

We see that the stress falls on samat, and since the fixed stress syllable of samat is its first syllable, the stress is on sa. Here, we see an example of the general rule that the head noun of a noun phrase is accented, while its case clitic is not. We can see this rule at work in the following noun phrase:

amaa sei - [ʔaˈmaː sej]
Mother.

Here we see that amaa (“mother”) is stressed on its final syllable rather than its initial. This is because its fixed stress syllable is its final syllable.

Adjectives

If an adjective is present, it is also accented. In this case, the head noun has a tendency to become less stressed. For example, the adjective muras, meaning “grey”, also has its first syllable as the stress syllable. Consider the following:

samat muras sa - [ˌsamat ˈmuɾasa]
Grey man.

Here we see an example of the general rule that adjectives in a noun phrase tend to acquire the primary stress, and the head noun tends to have only secondary stress. Secondary stress is realized with low pitch.

The following is another example of a noun phrase containing an adjective:

amaa juma sei - [ʔaˌmaː ˈʣuma sej]
Well-built mother.

Note that when more than one word is accented in a noun phrase as here, the speaker has a choice of which word to put a heavier stress on. This will vary depending on which word the speaker wishes to emphasize more; so it is also correct to enunciate the above as [ʔaˈmaː ˌʣuma sej].

Demonstratives & Vocatives

If a vocative marker is present in a noun phrase, it is either unaccented or receives secondary stress. For example, the demonstrative tara' (“that”) receives secondary stress in the following noun phrase:

samat tara' sa - [ˈsamat ˌtaɾaʔ sa]
That man.

The vocative marker tse is always unaccented:

amaa tse - [ʔaˈmaː ʦɛ]
Mother!

A more complex noun phrase that contains adjectives, demonstratives, as well as a case clitic follows the same rules we have encountered so far. For example:

samat teinin tara' sa - [ˌsamat tejˈnin ˌtaɾaʔ sa]
That smart man.

Relative Clauses

When a noun phrase contains a relative clause, the relativised verb or postposition is accented, but the preceding nouns which are marked using secondary case marking are unstressed or have only secondary stress. For example:

diru ipamra sei
[ˌdiɾu ʔiˈpamɾa sej]
The running girl.

diru abuara ipamra sei
[ˌdiɾu ʔaˌbwaɾa ʔiˈpamɾa sej]
The girl who is running from the volcano.

diru jini abuara ipamra sei
[ˌdiɾu ˈʣini ʔaˌbwaɾa ʔiˈpamɾa sej]
The tall girl who is running from the volcano.

tsaritas ikuen ata ka hamra huu na aram.
[ˈʦaɾitas ʔikɯn aˈta ka hamɾa ˈhuː na aɾam.]

Pronouns

Tatari Faran pronouns double as vocative markers and demonstratives. When used in isolation as the head noun in a noun phrase, they are accented like a normal head noun, with the exception of the second person singular pronoun tse (discussed later). For example:

tara' sa - [ˈtaɾaʔ sa]
He.

tara' muras sa
[ˌtaɾaʔ ˈmuɾasa]
He who is grey.

tara' nihuu hamrakan sa
[ˌtaɾaʔ niˌhuː ˈhamɾakan sa]
He whom I see.

Enclitics

The straightforward rules we've seen so far is complicated by the presence of enclitics, words that “throw” their accent onto an adjacent word. Many monosyllabic Tatari Faran words are enclitics; hence, it is necessary to know how enclitics behave.

Among the most commonly encountered enclitics is the second person pronoun tse. We have already seen tse as a vocative marker; it also functions as a pronoun when it is not modifying another noun. However, unlike other pronouns, it is normally unaccented even when used as the head noun in a noun phrase. Instead, it tries to “throw” its accent onto the previous word in the sentence or clause. If there is no previous word, or if the previous word is a particle that cannot be accented, it “throws” its accent onto the next word. It can do this latter even to case particles, which are otherwise never accented, making them receive secondary stress:

tse sa - [ʦɛ ˌsa]
You.

If an adjective is present, the adjective remains accented while tse is unaccented:

tse muras sa
[ʦɛ ˈmuɾasa]
You who are grey.

We shall see later that the enclitic behaviour of tse sometimes may cause a previous word in the sentence to become accented even though it would not be by normal rules.

Clauses

Intonation patterns in full clauses vary depending on the verbal mood of the clause. There are some general rules which apply to clauses of all types:

Indicative Sentences

In an indicative sentence, the subject NP always receives accent. The finalizer is never accented. For example:

huu ka huuja'a am.
[ˈhuː ka ˈhuː.ʣaʔa ʔam]
I yawn.

huu sa tapa bata.
[ˈhuː sa taˈpa bata]
I walk.

In these examples, there is no NP following the verb, so the verb receives stress. If there is an NP following the verb, the verb will lose its accent. For example:

huu sa tapa itsan no bata.
[ˈhuː sa tapa ˈi.ʦanɔ bata]
I walk to the cinder cone.

If the verb is modified by an adverb or other verbal modifiers, however, it becomes accented once more. For example:

huu sa tapa hara itsan no bata.
[ˈhuː sa taˈpa haɾa ˈi.ʦanɔ bata]
I will walk to the cinder cone.

huu sa tapa ina itsan no bata.
[ˈhuː sa taˈpa ʔina ˈi.ʦanɔ bata]
I wish to walk to the cinder cone.

An enclitic could also cause the verb to become accented. For example:

huu ka tsana tse nei aniin.
[ˈhuː sa ˈʦana ʦɛ nej ʔaniːn]
I speak to you (fem.).

Here, the enclitic tse causes tsana to be accented, even though by the normal rules it should not, because it is a verb without a modifier but with an argument noun phrase.

Imperative Sentences

In the imperative mood, the verb is at the front of the sentence, and is always accented. The subject NP, if present, is unaccented. Any other non-subject NP's are accented normally. For example:

tapa tse sa buta' kei.
[taˈpa ʦɛ sa buˈtaʔ kej]
You, go away from the house.

Questions

In yes/no questions involving the interrogative particle ta, if ta is modifying the verb, then the subject NP is unaccented, and any following NP's as well as the verb are accented. For example:

diru kei bata' na tsana ta?
[diɾu kej baˈtaʔ na ˈʦana ta]
Did the girl speak to the chief?

If ta modifies the subject NP, then the subject NP is accented, and the second NP in the question, if present, is unaccented. The final verb is accented. For example:

diru kita bata' na tsana?
[ˈdiɾu kita bataʔ na ˈʦana]
Is it the girl who speaks to the chief?


Last updated 23 May 2013.

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