||This article is incomplete. (May 2013)
Alabama (also known as Alibamu) is a Native American language, spoken by the Alabama-Coushatta tribe of Texas. It was once spoken by the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town of Oklahoma, but there are no more Alabama speakers in Oklahoma. It is a Muskogean language, and is believed to have been related to the Muklasa and Tuskegee languages, which are no longer extant. Alabama is closely related to Koasati and Apalachee, and more distantly to other Muskogean languages like Hitchiti, Chickasaw and Choctaw.
There are fourteen consonant phonemes in Alabama:
/s/ is apico-alveolar, [s̺]. The voiceless stops /p t k/ are typically fortis and unlike in many other Southeastern languages they are not voiced between vowels. All consonants can occur geminated. The post-alveolar affricate /tʃ/ is realized as [s] when it occurs as the first member of a consonant cluster and the geminate is realized as [ttʃ]. The only voiced obstruent in Alabama is /b/, which is realized as [m] when it occurs in coda (syllable final) position. The geminate /bb/ is realized as [mb]. The two nasal phonemes become velar [ŋ] before the velar stop /k/. In syllable-final position, /h/ is often realized as lengthening of the preceding vowel.
There are three vowel qualities, /i o a/. Vowel length is distinctive. Vowels can be nasalized in certain morphological contexts.
In Alabama, the final syllable generally carries the primary stress, except in the case of certain grammatical operations which move the stress. There is also a pitch accent system with two contrastive tones: high-level and high-falling. The two phonemic tones have several different allophonic realizations depending on vowel length and neighboring consonants.
- Davis, Philip; & Hardy, Heather. (1988). Absence of noun marking in Alabama. International Journal of American Linguistics, 54 (3), 279-308.
- Gordon, Raymond G., Jr. (Ed.). (2009). Alabama. In Ethnologue: Languages of the world (16th ed.). Dallas, TX: SIL International.
- Hardy, Heather K. (2005). "Alabama". In Hardy, Heather K.; Janine Scancarelli. Native Languages of the Southeastern United States (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press). pp. 75–113. ISBN 0-8032-4235-2.
- Hardy, Heather; & Davis, Philip. (1988). Comparatives in Alabama. International Journal of American Linguistics, 54 (2), 209-231.
- Hardy, Heather (2005). Native Languages of the Southeastern United States. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 82–84. ISBN 0-8032-4235-2.
- Hardy, Heather; & Davis, Philip. (1993). Semantics of agreement in Alabama. International Journal of American Linguistics, 59 (4), 453-472.
- Hardy, Heather; & Montler, Timothy. (1988). Imperfective gemination in Alabama. International Journal of American Linguistics, 54 (4), 399-415.
- Montler, Timothy; & Hardy, Heather. (1991). Phonology of negation in Alabama. International Journal of American Linguistics, 57 (1), 1-23.
- Rand, Earl. (1968). Structural phonology of Alabaman, a Muskogean language. International Journal of American Linguistics, 34 (2), 94-103.
- Sylestine, Cora; Hardy, Heather; & Montler, Timothy (1993). Dictionary of the Alabama Language. Austin: University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-73077-2.