Chara language

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Not to be confused with Cara language.
Chara
Pronunciation sʼaːra[1]
Native to Ethiopia
Native speakers
13,000 (2007 census)[2]
Afro-Asiatic
None
Language codes
ISO 639-3 cra
Glottolog char1269[3]
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Chara (alternatively Ciara or C’ara) is an Afro-Asiatic language of the North Omotic variety spoken in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region of Ethiopia by 13,000 people.

Status[edit]

Chara is geographically situated to the southeast of Nayi, west of Kullo, northeast of Mesketo, and northwest of Gofa.[4] Chara speakers live in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, in the Debub Omo Zone, on both sides of the Omo river.[5] Chara speakers are scattered in three villages in Ethiopia: Geba a meša, Buna Anta, and Kumba.[1] Native speakers may also speak Melo, Wolaytta (54% lexical similarity with Chara) to the east, and Kafa to the west.[5]

Phonology[edit]

Consonants[edit]

Consonant phonemes of Chara[6]
Labial Alveolar Palatoalveolar/
Palatal
Velar Glottal
Nasal1 m n [ɲ]
Plosive Voiceless p t k ʔ
Voiced b d ɡ
Ejective
Implosive ɓ (ɗ)
Affricate Voiceless ts
Voiced
Ejective tɕʼ
Fricative [f] s ɕ, (ʑ) h
Approximant w j
Trill r
Lateral l

[p] and [f] are in free variation.[7] /ɗ/ only occurs in the word /jalɗa~jaltʼa/ 'crooked'.[6] Yilma (2002) found /ɓ/ to occur five times in around 550 lexical items.[7] He also found /ʑ/ occurring in two, both in the sequence /iʑa/.[7] Occurrence of /ɗ/ and /pʼ/ may be governed by dialectual variation.[7]

Vowels[edit]

Vowel phonemes of Chara[7]
Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a

/a/ is realized as [ə] in unstressed word-medial syllables.[8]

Length is minimally contrastive.[7] Minimal pairs include /mola/ 'fish', /moːla/ 'egg'; /masa/ 'to wash', /maːsa/ 'leopard'; /buna/ 'flower', /buːna/ 'coffee'.[7]

Suprasegmentals[edit]

Chara has phonemic stress.[8] Examples: /ˈbakʼa/ 'to slap', /baˈkʼa/ 'empty'; /ˈwoja/ 'to come', /woˈja/ 'wolf'.[8]

Morphophonemics[edit]

Morpheme-initial nasals assimilate point of articulation to that of the preceding consonant, usually found when verbs are suffixed with the singular imperative morpheme /-na/, e.g. /dub-na/ 'to hit.imp' → [dubma] 'hit!'.[9]

Grammar[edit]

Morphology[edit]

Chara generally uses noun case suffixes and postpositions.[5]

Nouns are inflected for gender, number, definiteness, case, and possession.[10] These are all suffixes, except for the possessive.[10]

Gender pairs are usually lexical, except for a few with /-i/ in the masculine and /-a/ in the feminine.[10] Examples:[10]

/mansa/ 'ox', /mija/ 'cow'
/izi/ 'he', /iza/ 'she'

Nouns and adjectives inflect for plural with the suffix /-eːndi/.[10] Examples:[11]

/ina/ 'mother', /ineːndi/ 'mothers'
/dala/ 'while (sg.)', /daleːndi/ 'white (pl.)'

Definiteness in nouns is marked with the suffix /-naːzi/ (as an independent word meaning 'the male/man') for masculines and /-ena/ for feminines.[12] Adjectives take /-bi/ in the masculine and /-ena/ in the feminine.[12] Examples:[12]

/mansa/ 'ox', /mansanaːzi/ 'the ox'
/mija/ 'cow', /mijena/ 'the cow/
/karta/ 'black', /kartabi/ 'the black (m.)', /kartena/ 'the black (f.)'

Nouns and adjectives may be marked for nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, ablative, instrumental, or vocative case.[13] The nominative suffix is /-i/, accusative /-(i)s/, dative /-(i)ri/, genitive /-e/, ablative /-kaj/, instrumental /-ne/, and vocative /-o/.[13]

Chara pronouns[14]
Person Independent Possessive
(s) (pl) (s)
1 /tani/ /noːne~nuni/ /tareri/
2 /neːni/ /inˈti/ /nereri/
3 (m) /izi/ /itsendi/ /izeri/
(f) /iza/

Bound possessive pronouns: /ta-mija/ 'my cow', /ne-mija/ 'your cow', /iza-mija/ 'his cow'.[15]

Syntax[edit]

Chara is a subject–object–verb language.[5]

Adjectives end in /-a/ like nouns, and inflect for number, definiteness, plurality, and case.[16] In noun phrases adjectives precede their nouns, and are not inflected.[16]

Examples[edit]

Numerals 1-10[17]
Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Chara issa: nanta: keza: obda: uchcha sa:fun la:pun nandirse biza: tantsa:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yilma (2002:4)
  2. ^ Ethiopia 2007 Census
  3. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Chara". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. ^ Yilma & Siebert (2002:4)
  5. ^ a b c d Chara language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  6. ^ a b Yilma (2002:4–5)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Yilma (2002:5)
  8. ^ a b c Yilma (2002:6)
  9. ^ Yilma (2002:7)
  10. ^ a b c d e Yilma (2002:8)
  11. ^ Yilma (2002:8–9)
  12. ^ a b c Yilma (2002:9)
  13. ^ a b Yilma (2002:9–11)
  14. ^ Yilma (2002:11–12)
  15. ^ Yilma (2002:12)
  16. ^ a b Yilma (2002:11)
  17. ^ Numbers in Afro-Asiatic Languages

References[edit]

External links[edit]