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Iraqw language

Iraqw
Kángw Iraqw
Native toTanzania
RegionManyara, Arusha
EthnicityIraqw
Native speakers
600,000 (2009)[1]
Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3irk
Glottologiraq1241
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.
Two Iraqw speakers, recorded in Tanzania.

Iraqw (/ɪˈrɑːk/[2]) is a Cushitic language spoken in Tanzania in the Arusha and Manyara Regions. It is expanding in numbers as the Iraqw people absorb neighbouring ethnic groups.[clarification needed] The language has many Datooga loanwords, especially in poetic language. The Gorowa language, to the south, shares numerous similarities and is sometimes considered a dialect.

Phonology

Vowels

Whiteley (1958) lists the following vowel phonemes for Iraqw. All of the vowels except /ə/ occur in both short and long versions:

Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

/o/ can be heard as [ə] within the environment of pharyngeal consonants.

Consonants

Whiteley (1958) and Mous (1993) list the following consonants:

Iraqw consonant phonemes
  Labial Alveolar Palatal /
Palato-
alveolar
Velar/Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
Central Lateral Plain Labialized
Nasal m n (ɲ ⟨ny⟩) ŋ ⟨ng⟩ ŋʷ
Plosive/
Affricate
Voiceless p t ( ⟨ch⟩) k
Voiced b d ( ⟨j⟩) ɡ ɡʷ
Laryngealized tsʼ tɬʼ ⟨tl⟩ ~ qχʼ qʷʼ ~ qχʷʼ ʔ ⟨'⟩
Fricative Voiceless f s ɬ ⟨sl⟩ (ʃ ⟨sh⟩) x ħ ⟨hh⟩ h
Voiced ʕ ⟨/⟩
Trill r
Approximant l j ⟨y⟩ w

In the popular orthography for Iraqw used in Lutheran and Catholic materials as well as in collections of traditional Iraqw stories[3] and academic literature (e.g. Nordbustad 1988[4] and Mous 1993[5]), the majority of the orthography follows the Swahili orthography with the addition of x and q. Other additions to the orthography are the sound ɬ is spelled ⟨sl⟩, the tɬʼ is spelled ⟨tl⟩, the ħ is spelled ⟨hh⟩, and ʕ is spelled ⟨/⟩.[6] Consonants /ɲ, tʃ, dʒ, ʃ/ mainly occur from loanwords of Swahili and Datooga.[7]

Morphology

Noun morphology

Gender

Nouns in Iraqw have three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. The gender of a noun can be deduced from the type of agreement that it triggers on other elements in the sentence, but the agreement system is unusual, and obeys the following principle:[8]

  • Masculine nouns require the masculine form of the verb
  • Feminine nouns require the feminine form of the verb
  • Neuter nouns require the plural form of the verb

The masculine, feminine, and plural forms of the verb are identified by the form the verb takes when the subject is pronoun which is a.) a third person masculine singular ('he'), b.) a third person feminine singular ('she'), or c.) a third person plural ('they').

Masculine verb forms

Daaqay

boys(MASC)

i

S.3

giilín

fight:3.SG.M

Daaqay i giilín

boys(MASC) S.3 fight:3.SG.M

'The boys are fighting'

i

S.3

giilín

fight:3.SG.M

i giilín

S.3 fight:3.SG.M

'He is fighting'

Feminine verb forms

Hhayse

tails(FEM)

i

S.3

harweeriiríin

make:circles:3.SG.F

Hhayse i harweeriiríin

tails(FEM) S.3 make:circles:3.SG.F

'The tails are making circles'

i

S.3

harweeriiríin

make:circles:3.SG.F

i harweeriiríin

S.3 make:circles:3.SG.F

'She is making circles'

Neuter verb forms

Hhayso

tail(NEUT)

i

S.3

harweeriiríná'

make:circles:3.SG.PL

Hhayso i harweeriiríná'

tail(NEUT) S.3 make:circles:3.SG.PL

'The tail is making circles'

i

S.3

harweeriiríná'

make:circles:3.SG.PL

i harweeriiríná'

S.3 make:circles:3.SG.PL

'They are making circles'

There are several unusual things that are worth noting. One is that 'tail' is neuter in the singular and feminine in the plural; despite this, the plural verb form is used for 'tail', since it is neuter, and neuters use the plural verb form. This is why "plural" is often used as a label for this gender; plural gender is common in a number of Cushitic languages. Another is that the verbs do not agree with their subjects in number, so the masculine plural daaqay 'boys' takes the masculine form of the verb, not the plural form of the verb.

Number

Nouns typically have separate singular and plural forms, but there are many distinct plural suffixes.[9] reports that there are fourteen different plural suffixes. The lexical entry for a noun must specify the particular plural suffix it takes.

The gender of a plural noun is usually different from the gender of the corresponding singular. Compare the following singular and plural nouns, with their genders:

singular singular gender plural plural gender meaning
awu m awe f 'bull'
bila' m bil'aawe f 'cliff'
nyaqot m nyaqootma' f 'colobus monkey'
hhampa m hhampeeri n 'wing'
tlanka f tlankadu n 'bridge'
lama f lameemo n 'lie'
slanú m slaneemo n 'python'
xweera n xweer(a)du n 'night'

While it is not possible to predict the gender of a noun or which plural suffix it will take, the form of the plural suffix determines the gender of the plural noun. So, for example, all plural nouns with the -eemo suffix are neuter.[10]

Construct case suffixes and gender linkers

The gender of a noun is important for predicting the construct case suffix and the gender linker that it will use. When a noun is directly followed by

  • an adjective
  • a possessive noun phrase
  • a numeral
  • a relative clause
  • a verb

then a construct case suffix must appear after the noun. The construct case marker is ⟨-ú⟩ or ⟨-kú⟩ for masculine nouns; ⟨-Hr⟩ or ⟨-tá⟩ for feminine nouns; and ⟨-á⟩ for neuter nouns:[11]

hhar-tá

stick-construct:FEM

baabú-'ee'

father-1SG.POSS

hhar-tá baabú-'ee'

stick-construct:FEM father-1SG.POSS

'the stick of my father'

waahlá-r

python-construct:FEM

ur

big

waahlá-r ur

python-construct:FEM big

'big python'

an-á

1SG-S:1/2

hiim-ú

rope-construct:MASC

urúux

pull:1SG

an-á hiim-ú urúux

1SG-S:1/2 rope-construct:MASC pull:1SG

'I pull the rope'

The gender linkers are similar to the construct cases suffixes, but appear between the noun and other suffixes (such as the demonstrative, indefinite, and possessive suffixes). The following example shows masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns before the 'their' possessive suffix and the demonstrative -qá' 'that (far, but visible)'.[12]

masculine feminine neuter
gura' 'stomach' hasam 'dilemma' hhafeeto 'mats'

guru-'ín

stomach:M-3PL.POSS

guru-'ín

stomach:M-3PL.POSS

'their stomach'

hasam-ar-'ín

dilemma-F-3PL.POSS

hasam-ar-'ín

dilemma-F-3PL.POSS

'their dilemma'

hhafeeto-'ín

mats:N-3PL.POSS

hhafeeto-'ín

mats:N-3PL.POSS

guru-qá'

stomach:M-that

guru-qá'

stomach:M-that

'that stomach'

hasam-ar-qá'

dilemma-F-that

hasam-ar-qá'

dilemma-F-that

'that dilemma'

hhafeeto-qá'

mats:N-that

hhafeeto-qá'

mats:N-that

'those mats'

Adverbial case clitics

Iraqw has four adverbial case clitics: the directive, the ablative, the instrumental and the reason case clitics. Adverbial case clitics occur in the position immediately before the verb and are cliticised to the preceding noun with the gender linker, or they might occur in a position after the verb, in which case they are obligatorily followed by a resumptive pronoun alé.

Cases Clitic Example
Directive i

tlakway-í

sack-DEM1

dahas-eek

put-IMP.SG.O

bará

in:CON

hhar-ti

stick-F1:DIR

alé

RESPRO

tlakway-í dahas-eek bará hhar-ti alé

sack-DEM1 put-IMP.SG.O in:CON stick-F1:DIR RESPRO

'Put this sack on a stick.'[5] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Ablative wa

naxés

well

ba’ari

bees

ni-na

PL-PST

bará

in:CON

sla/a-tá-wa

bush-F1-ABL

ti’it

appear:3SG.F

naxés ba’ari ni-na bará sla/a-tá-wa ti’it

well bees PL-PST in:CON bush-F1-ABL appear:3SG.F

‘Then bees appeared from the bush.’[13] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Instrumental ar

aná

1.SG-S.1/2

dab-ar

hands-INSTR

fool-íit

dig-MIDDLE:1.SG

aná dab-ar fool-íit

1.SG-S.1/2 hands-INSTR dig-MIDDLE:1.SG

'I dig with my hands.'[5] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Reason sa

a

S.1/2

ki/ima-wók-sa

return-2.SG.POSS-REAS

gurhamut-a?

regret:2.SG:INT-INF

a ki/ima-wók-sa gurhamut-a?

S.1/2 return-2.SG.POSS-REAS regret:2.SG:INT-INF

'Do you regret your return?'[5] Unknown glossing abbreviation(s) (help);

Syntax

Noun phrases

The noun comes first in the noun phrase, and precedes possessors, adjectives, numerals, and relative clauses. An element called the construct case suffix appears between the noun and these modifiers, as discussed in the Morphology section above:

hhar-

stick-construct:FEM

baabú-'ee'

father-1SG.POSS

hhar- baabú-'ee'

stick-construct:FEM father-1SG.POSS

'the stick of my father'

waahlá-r

python-construct:FEM

ur

big

waahlá-r ur

python-construct:FEM big

'big python'

Sentences

An Iraqw sentence contains a verb in final position, and an auxiliary-like element called the 'selector'. Either the subject or the object of the sentence may precede the selector,[14] and the selector agrees with the preceding noun. So in the first example below, iri shows agreement with /ameenirdá' 'that woman', and in the second example, uná shows agreement with gitladá' :

/ameeni-r-dá'

woman-fem-that

i-ri

S.3-narrative:past

tsuwa

for.sure

fa/á-r

food-construct:fem

/agagiin.

eat:impf:3s

/ameeni-r-dá' i-ri tsuwa fa/á-r /agagiin.

woman-fem-that S.3-narrative:past for.sure food-construct:fem eat:impf:3s

'And that woman was surely eating.'

('aníng)

I

gitla-dá'

man-that

'u-na

obj:masc-past

aahhiit

hate:1sg

('aníng) gitla-dá' 'u-na aahhiit

I man-that obj:masc-past hate:1sg

'I hate that man.'

References

  1. ^ Iraqw at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018) Closed access icon
  2. ^ Tucker, A. N.; Bryan, M. A. (September 22, 2017). The Non-Bantu Languages of North-Eastern Africa: Handbook of African Languages Part 3. Routledge. ISBN 9781351600385 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Berger, Paul Hrsg. (1998). Iraqw texts. Köppe. ISBN 3-927620-34-3. OCLC 722327455.
  4. ^ Nordbustad, Frøydis. Iraqw Grammar: An Analytical Study of the Iraqw Language. Berlin: D. Reimer. ISBN 9783496009252.
  5. ^ a b c d Mous 1993.
  6. ^ Mous 1993, p. 16.
  7. ^ Mous 1993, p. 19.
  8. ^ Mous 1993, p. 41.
  9. ^ Mous 1993, p. 44.
  10. ^ Mous 1993, p. 58.
  11. ^ Mous 1993, pp. 95–96.
  12. ^ Mous 1993, pp. 90–92.
  13. ^ Kruijt, Anne (2018-11-06). "The use of the ablative clitic in locative phrases in Iraqw, a Cushitic language of Tanzania". Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. 39 (2): 241–265. doi:10.1515/jall-2018-0009. ISSN 0167-6164. S2CID 149938579.
  14. ^ Mous 1993, p. 110.

Bibliography

Further reading

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Iraqw language
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