Construct Wichita Consonant Phoneme Inventory (you can copy and paste the symbols form the data set)

Part I: Consonants and Vowels: Wichita C and V Inventories

Wichita is an American Indian language in the Caddoan family, originally spoken in parts of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. The last known native speaker of Wichita, Doris McLemore, died in August 2016. Efforts are being made to revive the language in a partnership between the Wichita tribe and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Among the world’s languages, the Wichita inventory of distinctive sounds (consonants and vowels) is quite unusual. (Data below is adapted from Rood 1975).

  1. The twelve Wichita words below contain all the consonants and vowels found in the language. Enter these consonants and vowels in the appropriate places on the standard IPA chart that follow – this will give you a graphic picture of the Wichita inventory of distinctive sounds.
  • Note 1: [t͡s] represents an alveolar affricate (a single sound!!!) (It sounds like the sequence of two sounds in English at the end of the word “cats“: Pronounce the word “cats” out loud to notice your production of the two final consonants!).
  •  Note 2: The sound [kʷ] is a labialized voiceless velar stop. Try to pronounce the voiceless velar stop [k] but round your lips simultaneously. This is how labialized velar stop sounds like.
  • Note 3: In this data set, the vowel [a] is a low central vowel.
  • Note 4: The symbol [:] placed next to vowels indicates a long vowel, and the symbol [::] indicates an extralong vowel.
  • Note 5: An accent mark placed over a vowel, e.g., [ɪ́], [á], indicates one of two distinctive pitches, the other being unmarked in this data set.
  1. [khat͡s]                         ‘white’                          7.   [t͡she:t͡sʔa]              ‘dawn’
  2. [ksa:rʔa]                       ‘bed’                             8.   [rhiʔirt͡skha:rʔa]     ‘trousers’
  3. [ha:t͡sarijarit͡s]               ‘saw’                            9.   [kskha:rʔa]                         ‘hip joint’
  4. [kʔíta:ks]                     ‘coyote’                        10. [t͡skha:rʔa]              ‘night’
  5. [thárah]                        ‘close’                           11. [wa:khat͡sije:s]       ‘calf’
  6. [kʷha:t͡s]                       ‘red’                             12. [isse::wa]               ‘you better go’

Construct Wichita Consonant Phoneme Inventory (you can copy and paste the symbols form the data set)

 LabialAlveolarPalatalVelarGlottal
Stop       
Nasal     
Affricate     
Fricative     
Approximant     

Construct Wichita Vowel Phoneme Inventory (Note: Just fill in the basic vowels – disregard length and pitch distinctions).

 FrontCentralBack
High   
Mid   
Low   
  • Examine the consonant chart you’ve constructed, and then explain what is so unusual  about Wichita’s consonant inventory. Your answer should refer to classes of sounds, not just to individual segments.

Begin your answer here… (take as much space as you need but use different font)

  • Repeat question B for the Wichita vowels: Explain what makes this set of vowels highly unusual. As before, you should refer to classes of sounds.

Begin your answer here… (take as much space as you need but use different font)

If you want to know about language and its last speaker, you can watch these short videos:

Part II: Consonants and Vowels: Biblical Hebrew Consonant Inventory

            The following is a phonetic transcription of an Old Testament passage in its original language, Biblical Hebrew. This is the familiar section of Ecclesiastes (3:1–8) that begins, “To every thing there is a season…” The first five verses are given below.

            Your task is to determine the consonant sounds that occur in Biblical Hebrew. Although the passage is brief, all but two of the Biblical Hebrew consonants can be found in it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1–8

  1. [lakkol   zᵊma:n                       wᵊʕeθ   lᵊxɔl    ħeɸɛsˠ    taħaθ    haʃʃa:ma:jim]
  2. [ʕeθ   la:lɛðɛθ                          wᵊʕeθ   la:mu:θ]

[ʕeθ   la:tˠaʕaθ                         wᵊʕeθ   laʕaqo:r   na:tˠu:aʕ]

  • [ʕeθ   laharo:ɣ                          wᵊʕeθ   lirpo:]

[ʕeθ   liɸro:sˠ                           wᵊʕeθ   liβno:θ]

  • [ʕeθ   liβko:θ                           wᵊʕeθ   lisʲħo:q]

[ʕeθ   sᵊɸo:ð                            wᵊʕeθ   rᵊqo:ð]

  • [ʕeθ   lᵊhaʃli:x   ʔaβa:ni:m       wᵊʕeθ   kᵊno:s   ʔaβa:ni:m]

[ʕeθ   laħaβoq                          wᵊʕeθ   lirħoq   meħabbeq]

  1. Enter the Biblical Hebrew consonants in their appropriate places on the following consonant chart. The two consonants not found in the data have been entered for you.
  2. Note 1: Double consonant sounds indicate the long consonant. Treat these double consonants as a single sound – long sound, and place it in according cell.
  3. Note 2: The diacritic [ˠ] placed next to the consonant sound indicates that the consonant is velarized – produced with the secondary articulation gesture (raising the tongue body toward soft palate)
  4. Note 3: The diacritic [ʲ] placed next to the consonant sound indicates that the consonant is palatalized  – produced with the secondary articulation gesture (raising the tongue front towards the hard palate).
  BilabialLabio-dentalInter-dentalAlveolarAlveo-palatalPalatalVelarUvularPharyngealGlottal
Stopvoiceless          
 voiced   d  g   
Nasal           
Fricativevoiceless          
 voiced          
Affricatevoiceless          
 voiced          
Approximantcentral          
 lateral          
  • 1. How many phonetic consonants does Biblical Hebrew have?

Begin your answer here…

2. Which Biblical Hebrew consonants are not found in English? (Give not only symbols, but their phonetic descriptions – voicing feature, place, and manner of articulation).

Begin your answer here….

3. Which English consonants are not found in Biblical Hebrew? (Give not only symbols, but their phonetic descriptions – voicing feature, place, and manner of articulation).

Begin your answer here…

  • Over the millennia, the Hebrew sound system has changed considerably. The following is a transcription of the same passage in modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation. Compare this with Biblical Hebrew. Make a list of the consonant changes your find.

Example: Biblical Hebrew [q] à Israeli Hebrew [k].

            Try to formulate generalizations whenever possible.

  • Note 1: [t͡s] represents an alveolar affricate (a single sound!!!) (It sounds like the sequence of two sounds in English at the end of the word “cats“: Pronounce the word “cats” out loud to notice your production of the two final consonants!).
  • Note 2: [ʁ] is a uvular fricative similar to “Parisian “r” [ʀ]”
  1. [lakɔl   zᵊman                          vᵊʔɛt     lᵊxɔl     xɛfɛt͡s   taxat    haʃamajim]
  2. [ʔɛt      lalɛdɛt                          vᵊʔɛt     lamut]

[ʔɛt      lataʔat                          vᵊʔɛt     laʔakɔʁ            natua]

  • [ʔɛt      lahaʁɔg                        vᵊʔɛt     liʁpɔ]

[ʔɛt      lifʁɔt͡s                          vᵊʔɛt     livnɔt]

  • [ʔɛt      livkɔt                           vᵊʔɛt     lisxɔk]

[ʔɛt      sᵊfɔd                            vᵊʔɛt     ʁᵊkɔd]

  • [ʔɛt      lᵊhaʃlix ʔavanim          vᵊʔɛt     kᵊnɔs    ʔavanim]

[ʔɛt      laxavɔk                        vᵊʔɛt     liʁxɔk mɛxabɛk]

Begin your answer here…