Tee language

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Tẹẹ
Native to Nigeria
Region Rivers State
Native speakers
310,000  (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tkq
Glottolog teee1242[2]
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Tẹẹ, or Tai, is the language of the Tai tribe of the Ogoni nation of Nigeria. It is to a limited degree mutually intelligible with Khana, the main Ogoni language, but its speakers consider it to be a separate language.

Phonology[edit]

The Tẹẹ ([tɛ̀ː]) sound system is typical of an Ogoni language and identical to that of Khana, with the exception of four or five voiceless sonorants not found in that language. The voiceless w is also found in other Ogoni languages, and voiceless j and l are also found in other languages of Nigeria.

Tẹẹ has three tones, high, mid, and low. There are seven oral vowels, /i e ɛ a ɔ o u/, and five nasal vowels, /ĩ ẽ ã õ ũ/. All may occur long or short. The consonants are as follows:

Tẹẹ consonants
Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Labial-
velar
central lateral plain lab.
Plosive voiceless p t k k͡p
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ ɡ͡b
Fricative voiceless s
voiced z
Nasal voiceless (m̥)
voiced m n ɲ ŋʷ
Approximant voiceless ȷ̊
voiced ɹ l j w

A glottal stop [ʔ] appears before any otherwise vowel-initial stem. The alveolar consonants are apical.

Tẹẹ includes a rather unusual series of voiceless sonorants. The voiceless palatal /ȷ̊/ sounds rather like the voiceless palatal fricative [ç], but is not as noisy (that is, there is not much random-frequency noise in its sound spectrum). Similarly, /l̥/ is a voiceless approximant, not a voiceless fricative *[ɬ]. The voiceless bilabial nasal, /m̥/, is only known to occur in one word, /àm̥èː/ (an unidentified abdominal organ), and then only for some speakers. All of the voiceless sonorants are actually voiced during the second half of their enunciation. That is, /n̥/ is pronounced [n̥͡n] However, they are considerably shorter than their voiced homologues, and hence cannot be considered /hC/ sequences with an otherwise unattested consonant */h/.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tẹẹ at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Tee". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Ladefoged, Peter (October 1995). "Voiceless approximants in Tee". Fieldwork Studies of Targeted Languages III (UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics) 91: 85–88.