Kalaw Lagaw Ya - Dialect Differences

Dialect Differences

1) Phonology:

Phonological differences between the dialects are amazingly rare - and in general sporadic. The only regular differences are the following:

a) Colloquial final unstressed vowel elision in Kulkalgau Ya and Kawalgau Ya:

maalu sea > maal’

waapi fish > waap’

thathi father > thath’

waaru turtle > waar’

ngadha appearance, looks > ngadh’

mœràpi bamboo (à shows the stressed syllable) > mœràp’

bera rib > ber’

kaba dance performance > kab’

Such elision is rare or sporadic in the other dialects.

b) Final vowel unstressed vowel devoicing and deletion in Kalaw Lagaw Ya

In Kalaw Lagaw Ya, such final vowels in correct language are devoiced, and deleted in colloquial language, except in a small class of words which include bera rib, where there is a short vowel in the stem and in which the final vowel is permanently deleted, with compensatory lengthening of the final consonant (thus berr).

Strictly speaking, the process is not final vowel devoicing, but rather stressed vowel lengthening accompanied by final vowel devoicing - except in the case of words such as bera rib > berr, where the process is final consonant lengthening by the final vowel being 'incorporated' into the consonant. Note that in the following the word-final capital letter represents a devoiced vowel:

maalu sea > maalU > maal’

waapi fish > waapI > waap’

thaathi father > thaathI > thaath’ (Badhu variant thath’)

waaru turtle > waarU > waar’

ngadha appearance, looks > ngaadhA > ngaadh’

mœràpi bamboo (àà shows the stressed syllable) > mœrààpI > mœrààp’

bera rib > berr

kaba dance performance > kabb

In declined forms of such words, the long vowel is shortened, and the final vowel voiced, and in words like ber rib the final vowel often reappears:

maalU sea + ka dative > maluka

waapI fish > wapika

thaathI father > thathika

waarU turtle > waruka

ngaadhA appearance, looks > ngadhaka

mœrààpI bamboo > mœràpika

ber rib > beraka, berka

kab dance performance > kabaka, kabka

This vowel shortening in affixed/modified forms exists in all dialects, however the other dialects have retained contrastive length to some extent, whereas Kalaw Lagaw Ya has largely lost it for ‘morphophonological’ length, where the stressed vowel in non-emotive words (see below) of one or two syllables is automatically lengthened in the nominative-accusative; this also applies to words of three syllables with second syllable stress (as in mœrààpI bamboo).

One of the very few length contrasts in the Kalaw Lagaw Ya dialect is kaabA knot in bamboo etc. vs kab dance performance (kab in Old Kawalgaw Ya was kœRaba, and œRa has regularly given short a in Kalaw Lagaw Ya); such length contrasts are more widespread in the other dialects.

The exceptions are (1) the small class or words that include ber rib and kab dance performance, and (2) emotive words. Emotive words are those that equate to a certain extent to diminutives in languages such as Irish, Dutch and German, where specific suffixes are added to show 'diminutive' status (-ín, -Cje and -chen respectively). Emotive words in the Kalaw Lagaw Ya dialect include familiar kinship terms and words used in emotive contexts such as singing/poetry.

Word Non-Emotive Emotive
Mum (apùùwA, apùù, àpu - mother) Ama
Dad (thaathI, thaath - father) Baba
Child kaazI, kaaz kazi
Wife iipI, iip ipi
Home (Island) laagA, laag laga
Dust, Spray pœœyA, pœœy pœya (also paya)
Bamboo mœrààpI, mœrààp mœràpi (also marapi)
Head kuwììkU, kuwììk kuwìku, kuiku

c) Kalau Kawau Ya final i-glide deletion

A small class of words in KKY lose the final i-glide found in the other dialects, including the following:

banana plant : KLY/KulY/KY dawai, KKY dawa

spot, stain : KLY/KulY/KY burkui (bœrkui), KKY bœrku (burku)

blank skink : KLY/KulY/KY mogai, KKY Saibai/Dœwan mogo, Bœigu moga

old : KLY/KulY/KY kulbai, KKY kulba

a short while, first before doing something else : KLY/KulY/KY mamui, KKY mamu

birth cord : KLY/KulY/KY kùpai, KKY kùpa

Word forms in neighbouring languages as well in the Kauraraigau Ya (Kowrareg) of the mid-to-late 19th century, such as the Meriam Mìr kopor and Kauraraigau Ya kupar/kopar birth cord show that in such words the final -i/Ø are the modern forms of older .

2) Syntax

The main syntactic differences are:

a) Verb negative construction:

In all dialects except Kalau Kawau Ya, the verb negative is the nominalised privative form of the verbal noun. As this form in itself a noun, its subject and direct object are cast in the genitive:

Ngath waapi purthanu I ate a fish

Ngai stuwaka uzarima I went to the store

Ngau wapiu purthaiginga I didn’t eat a fish

Ngau stuwaka uzaraiginga I didn’t go to the store

The Kalau Kawau Ya dialect uses the verbal noun privative form as an invariable verb negative:

Ngath waapi purthanu I ate a fish

Ngai stuwapa uzarima I went to the store

Ngath waapi purthaiginga I didn’t eat a fish

Ngai stuwapa uzaraiginga I didn’t go to the store

b) Verb Tenses/Aspects

The Kalau Kawau Ya dialect has the tenses and aspects listed in the section on verb morphology. The other dialects have largely lost the remote future tense, using the habitual instead; the remote future in the other dialetcs is retained most commonly as a 'future imperative', where the imperative refers to a vague period in the future. The Kalaw lagaw Ya dialect also has a 'last night' tense, where the adverb bungil last night has become grammaticalised as a verb ending, following the example of the adverb ngùl yesterday, which had previously become grammaticalised as a 'recent past' tense marker in all dialects, with reduction to -ngu in the Kalau kawau Ya dialect. In the other dialects bongel last night is a fully functioning temporal adverb used in conjunction with either the today past or the recent past.

In the case of the shape of affixes, dialects differ in the following:

1) present imperfective/near future perfective/verbal noun dative:

KKY/KY -pa, KLY/KulY -ka

2) Recent past

KKY -ngu, KLY/KY/KulY -ngul

3) Today past

KKY/KLY/KulY -nu, KY -nul (older -nulai)

4) Habitual

KKY -paruig/paruidh/-parui/-paru/-pu (-pu most commonly on stems of two or more syllables, and the bi-syllabic forms on stems of one syllable )

KLY/KulY -kuruig

KY -kurui

c) Nominal Affixes

The main nominal affix difference is the dative ending, which has the following forms in the various dialects:

KLY/KulY -ka; -pa with kipa to here and sipa to there; -pa sometimes in poetry/singing

KY -pa; -ka in ngaikika to/for/towards me; -ka often in poetry/singing.

KKY -pa in all cases; -ka often in poetry/singing.

The plural/HAVE suffix -LAI also shows a small amount of dialect variation with stems of two syllables, where Kulkalgau Ya differs from the other dialects in retaining the full form form of the suffix -LAI, reduced to -L in the other dialects. In stems of three or more syllables, the suffix is reduced to -L in all dialects, while retained as -LAI (variants according to noun sub-class -THAI, -AI, -DAI) with stems of one syllable.

Three+ syllable stem: burum pig, stem: buruma-, plural burumal

Bisyllabic stem: lag, KLY laagA place, home, home island, stem: laga-, plural lagal, KulY lagalai

monosyllabic stems: all dialects identical

(1) Regular vowel final: ma spider, stem: ma-, plural malai

(2) Regular -i glide final: mui fire, stem: mui-, plural muithai

(3) Regular -l final: gul sailing canoe, stem: gul-, plural gulai

(4) Regular -r final: wœr/wur/uur water, stem: wœr-/wur-/ur-, plural wœlai/wulai/ulai, KKY wœrai

(5) Irregular vowel final stem: ya speech, word(s), message, language, etc., stem: ya-, plural yadai

d) Vocabulary

The main differences between the dialects are to do with vocabulary, as can be seen in the following examples:

house/building : KLY mùùdha (laaga), KulY mùdh (laag), KY laag (mùdh), KKY laag

mud : KLY/KulY/KY berdhar (sœœya sandy mud/silt), KKY sœœi (berdhar softness of food, mud, etc.)

grandad : KLY/KulY/KY athe, KKY pòpu

frog : KLY/KulY kœtaaka, kœtak, KY kat, KLY (Saibai-Dœwan) kat, (Bœigu) kœteku

axe : KLY/KulY/KY aga, KKY agathurik (thurik cutting tool)

namesake : KLY/KulY natham, KKY/KY nasem

small, little : KLY/KulY/KY mœgi, Saibai/Dœwan mœgina, Bœigu mœgina, kœthuka

woman, female : KKY yipkaz/yœpkaz, KLY/KulY ipikaz (KLY variant iipka), KY ipkai

man, male : KKY garkaz, KLY/KulY garka, KY garkai

unmarried young/teenage woman : KKY ngawakaz, KLY/KulY ngawka/ngoka, KY ngawakai

song : KLY naawu (plural nawul], KulY nawu (plural nawulai), KY nawu (plural nawul), KKY na (plural nathai)

moon, month : KLY kisaayi, poetry mœlpal, KulY/KY kiisay, poetry mœlpal, KKY mœlpal, poetry kiisay

Read more about this topic:  Kalaw Lagaw Ya

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