Maonan language

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Maonan
Native toChina
RegionHuanjiang County, Hechi, northern Guangxi
Ethnicity107,000 (2000)[1]
Native speakers
30,000 (2005)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3mmd
Glottologmaon1241[2]

The Maonan language is a Kam–Sui language spoken mainly in Huanjiang Maonan Autonomous County, Hechi, northern Guangxi by the Maonan people.[3]

Demographics[edit]

Approximately half of all Maonan people are capable of speaking Maonan. In addition to this, many Maonan also speak Chinese or a Zhuang language. About 1/3 of all people who self-identify as Maonan are concentrated in the southern Guizhou province. They speak a mutually unintelligible dialect commonly called Yanghuang, which is more common known as the Then language in Western literature. The Maonan do not have a writing system.

Other than Huanjiang Maonan Autonomous County in Guangxi, Maonan is also spoken in the following locations.[4]

Phonology[edit]

Maonan is a tonal language with 8 tones (Lu 2008:90–91),[3] featuring an SVO clause construction (Lu 2008:169).[3] (See Proto-Tai language#Tones for an explanation of the tone numbers.) For example:

man2

3SG

na4

eat

kʰaːu3

wine

man2 na4 kʰaːu3

3SG eat wine

"S/He drinks wine."

- - -

man2

3SG

paːi1

go

1

market

man2 paːi1 hɯ1

3SG go market

"S/He goes to the market."

Syntax[edit]

Maonan displays a head-first modification structure, i.e. the modifier occurring after the modifier (Lu 2008:170).[3] For example:

kʰaːu3

wine

ɦu4ljaːŋ4

broomcorn

kʰaːu3 ɦu4ljaːŋ4

wine broomcorn

"broomcorn wine"

- - -

mu5

pig

laːu4

big

mu5 laːu4

pig big

"big pig"

- - -

nok7

bird

vin1

fly

nok7 vin1

bird fly

"flying bird"

Occasionally, a head-final modification structure is also possible with the involvement of a possessive particle (P.P.) ti5. For example:

jaːn1

house/family

ndaːu1

1PL

ti5

P.P.

bo4

buffalo

jaːn1 ndaːu1 ti5 bo4

house/family 1PL P.P. buffalo

"Our family's buffalo"

(cf. the more common bo4 jaːn1 ndaːu1) (Lu 2008:173-174).[3]

Writing System[edit]

The Maonan writing system was established in 2010 based on the 26 Latin alphabets to facilitate standard keyboard input.[5] The letters z, j, x, s, h are attached to the end of each syllable as tonal markers, representing tones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 respectively. The first tone is not written. Syllables ending in -b, -d, -g, -p, -t, -k do not distinguish tone either. The writing system is being used among a limited number of Maonan intellectuals.[6] For example:

Writing:

IPA:

Gloss:

Hez

ɦe²

1SG

suen

suːn¹

teach

ngz

ŋ²

2SG

nhieij

ˀnjai³

buy

hux

ɦu⁴

rice

gangs

kaːŋ⁵

stitch

deih

dai⁶

bag

tuet

tuːt⁷'

take-off

mad

maːt⁸'

sock

Writing: Hez suen ngz nhieij hux gangs deih tuet mad

IPA: ɦe² suːn¹ ŋ² ˀnjai³ ɦu⁴ kaːŋ⁵ dai⁶ tuːt⁷' maːt⁸'

Gloss: 1SG teach 2SG buy rice stitch bag take-off sock

Meaning: "I teach you (how) to buy rice, stitch bags and take off (your) socks."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Maonan at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Maonan". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ a b c d e Lu, Tian Qiao (2008). A Grammar of Maonan. Boca Raton, Florida: Universal Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59942-971-7.
  4. ^ Guangxi Minority Languages Orthography Committee. 2008. Vocabularies of Guangxi ethnic languages [广西民族语言方音词汇]. Beijing: Nationalities Publishing House [民族出版社].
  5. ^ Maonan website: http://maonan.org/wenzi/HagLeaMauhnanh.asp?boardid=24
  6. ^ Maonan website: http://maonan.org/wenzi/shengdiao.asp

External links[edit]