Samre language

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Not to be confused with Somray language.
Samre
Native to Cambodia
Region Pursat Province
Ethnicity 200 (2000)[1]
Native speakers
20–30 (1998)[2]
Austroasiatic
  • Pearic
    • Chong languages
      • Samre
Language codes
ISO 639-3 sxm
Glottolog samr1245[3]

Samre (Samre pronunciation: [samɣeː]), is a nearly extinct Pearic language of Thailand and, formerly, Cambodia. The language is evidently extinct in Cambodia,[1] but a 1998 survey found 20–30 speakers across the border in Thailand and estimated the total number of people able to speak the language to be 200.[2]

Phonology[edit]

The phonemic inventory is typical of modern Mon-Khmer languages and, along with the other Pearic languages, shows some phonological influences from the late Middle Khmer of the 17th century.[4] Samre also shows influence from Thai in that it has a developing tonal system. Like many other Austroasiatic languages in general, and the Pearic languages in particular, Samre vowels may differ in voice quality, a system known as "register", or "phonation". However, the breathy voice versus clear voice distinction is no longer contrastive and is secondary to a word's tone.[2]

Consonants[edit]

Samre has 21 consonant phonemes with [ɹ] and [ɰ] occurring as allophones of /ɣ/. They are listed in table form below.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive Aspirated
Voiceless p t c k ʔ
Voiced b d
Nasal Voiced m n ɲ ŋ
Fricative Voiceless s h
Voiced ɣ
Approximant Voiced w l [ɹ] j [ɰ]

The Samre recognize [ɣ] as a sound unique to their language in comparison to Thai and other surrounding indigenous languages. This voiced velar fricative occurs in free variation with the voiced alveolar approximant, [ɹ], except when following /a/ or /aː/ word-finally, in which case it is pronounced as [ɰ], the voiced velar approximant. The pronunciation [ɣ] is mostly heard among the older generation who consider it to be the "correct" pronunciation.[2] It can be considered a "harsh" sound and [ɹ] is sometimes used when the speaker wishes to sound "softer" or "soothing". The [ɣ] sound is not often heard among younger or less fluent speakers who use [ɹ] or replace the sound with a tapped or trilled /r/ due to influence from Thai.[2]

Vowels[edit]

Samre contrasts nine vowel qualities which can be either short or long, yielding a total of 18 vowel phonemes. There are three diphthongs: /iə/, /ɨə/, and /uə/. The vowels of Samre are:

Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close /i/ /iː/ /ɨ/ /ɨː/ /u/ /uː/
Close-mid /e/ /eː/ /ə/ /əː/ /o/ /oː/
Open-mid /ɛ/ /ɛː/ /ɔ/ /ɔː/
Open /a/ /aː/

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Samre language at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ a b c d e Pornsawan Ploykaew. 2001, "The phonology of Samre", in The Mon-Khmer Studies Journal, vol. 31, pp. 15-27
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Samre". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Ferlus, Michel (2011). "Toward Proto Pearic: problems and historical implications". Mon-Khmer Studies Journal. Mon-Khmer Studies Special Issue No. 2: Austroasiatic Studies - papers from ICAAL4. Retrieved 30 November 2015.