Kara
RegionNew Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea
Native speakers
5,000 (1998)[1]
Latin
Language codes
ISO 639-3leu
Glottologkara1486

Kara (also Lemusmus or Lemakot) is an Austronesian language spoken by about 5,000 people in 1998[1] in the Kavieng District of New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea.

Laxudumau, spoken in the village of Lakudumau, is transitional to Nalik.

Phonology

Consonants

Consonant Phonemes
Labial Alveolar Velar Uvular
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p b t d g q
Fricative ɸ β s ɣ
Trill r
Lateral l

Kara contains fourteen consonants. Single consonants are found within the head of a word, intervocalically between two vowels, finally and in sequences of less than two words medially. Voiceless consonants /p, t, q, ɸ, s/ create a cluster on the second consonant. Voiced consonants /b, d, g, β, ɣ/ appear initially and intervocally. They appear as the second consonant of a cluster. An example would be [βalβal] 'tree sap'.[2] It is notable that different dialects change the use of consonants. West Kara replaces /s/ with /z/ anytime it would proceed a vowel, and interpolate /ɸ/ with [h] before a vowel and [ʔ] at the end of a word.[2]

Examples of Consonants Used
Consonant Head (Initial) Intervocalic Final
p [pʰabʊŋ] 'clan' [ipʰʊl] 'surprise' [lɛp] 'wave'
t [tʰuɸ] 'sugar cane' [xutʰat] 'crayfish' [ɸat] 'stone'
q [qʰɔɾ] 'raven' [xɔqʰɔɸ] 'head cloth' [laq] 'go up'
g [gis] 'sick' [gogon] 'sweep' does not occur

Vowels

Vowel Phones
Front Central Back
Close i u
Near-Close ɪ ʊ
Close-Mid e o
Open-Mid ɛ ɘ ɔ
Open a

Kara contains ten vowels. Relative to their position in the IPA vowel chart, the vowels in Kara tend to contrast each other throughout the language. Central vowels [a] and [ə] contrast in both open and closed syllables.[3] Example:

Mid vowels [e] and [ɛ],and [o]and [ɔ] are complementary to each other in its respective pairs. Each pair occurs in open syllables, a syllable consisting of an onset and nucleus but no coda.[3]

Higher vowels [i] and [ɪ], and [u] and [ʊ] contrast in closed syllables,[3] a syllable consisting of an onset, nucleus, and coda.

Stress

Kara has an unusual occurrence of stress, or relative emphasis of syllables. Stress in Kara occurs on any syllable in a word, but follows a system of rules that allow placement of stress in an ordered system in all words that contain two syllables or more. However, syllables stemmed from prefixes are never stressed regardless of the ordered system. Stress is determined by three factors: vowel quality, syllable closure, and position in the word, with vowel quality being the most important factor.[4]

Syllables and Stress

A syllable with a nucleus of /a/ receives primary stress regardless of its position in the word.

A word with more than one syllable and a nucleus of /a/ has the stress fall on the last syllable..

A word with neither a syllable with a nucleus of /a/ or a closed syllable has the stress fall on the initial syllable.

Grammar

Kara follows a verb-subject-object word order, and uses reduplication for creation of more complex sentences. The language determines that body parts and kinship terms must be identified as belonging to someone which make it possible for inalienable possession.[5]

Verbs

Verbs in Kara are used transitively, meaning that the verbs in Kara span a spectrum that ultimately determines how speaking the language occurs between an object and that verb. Transitivity of verbs is used to also determine whether or not the spoken language is between two people actively who are actively speakers, rather than a speaker and a listener. For example: The verb [kuus] 'say' has an initiator but no one to actively speak to.[6]

Reduplication

Reduplication occurs when words with an initial consonant is plosive. The reduplicated consonant created is said fricatively within the same articulation of the word.[5]

Inalienable Possession

Inalienable Suffixes
Stem 1s Poss 2s Poss 3s Poss Meaning
[nasə] [nasaq] [nasam] [nasənə] 'wife'
[mɘtʰɘ] [mɘtʰaq] [mɘtʰam] [mətʰɘnɘ] 'eye'
[βəsa] [βɘsaq] [βɘsam] [βəsanə] 'sibling'
[mi] [mieq] [mim] [minə] 'back'
[ɤu] [ɤuəq] [ɤum] [ɤunɘ] 'stomach'

Note that most of the second person forms do not contain [ə], this occurs because sequences such as /iɘ, uɘ, oɘ, eə/ only occur before /ɤ/ or /q/. Since it /ɘ/ is the second vowel in a sequence, /ə/ is either combined or deleted before any consonant besides /ɤ/ and /q/.

Notes

  1. ^ a b Kara at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Schlie, Perry, & Schlie, Ginny. (n.d.). A Kara Phonology. In Phonologies of Austronesian Languages, II (Data Papers in Papua New Guinea Languages, pp. 100). Ukarumpa via Lae: Summer Inst. of Ling.
  3. ^ a b c Schlie, Perry, & Schlie, Ginny. (n.d.). A Kara Phonology. In Phonologies of Austronesian Languages, II (Data Papers in Papua New Guinea Languages, pp. 102). Ukarumpa via Lae: Summer Inst. of Ling.
  4. ^ a b Schlie, Perry, & Schlie, Ginny. (n.d.). A Kara Phonology. In Phonologies of Austronesian Languages, II (Data Papers in Papua New Guinea Languages, pp. 109). Ukarumpa via Lae: Summer Inst. of Ling.
  5. ^ a b Schlie, Perry, & Schlie, Ginny. (n.d.). A Kara Phonology. In Phonologies of Austronesian Languages, II (Data Papers in Papua New Guinea Languages, pp. 117). Ukarumpa via Lae: Summer Inst. of Ling.
  6. ^ Franklin, K., & Summer Institute of Linguistics. Papua New Guinea Branch. (1989). Studies in componential analysis (Data papers on Papua New Guinea languages ; vol. no. 36, pg. 39-45). Ukarumpa via Lae, Papua New Guinea: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Bibliography