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I just saw this on IHT, haven't had a chance to read it yet, but might be useful (not for formal language description or anything, but for establishing notability and yada yada):
Frosch, Dan (17 October 2008). "Native American tribe focuses on the young to keep language alive". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
Moved from article
For the moment I've moved this passage and table from the article:
Arapaho Wampanoag Translation tóó'owún taːkamiːyan 'you hit me' néʧ nəpiː 'water' bétee mətaːh 'heart' hinénn nən 'man' hó' aːkiː 'dirt','land' ʧeeb- pəm- 'along' (perlative, preverb)of Language'
- Using Wampanoag to exemplify the shift to Arapaho, which has been generally less conservative than other Proto-Algonquian languages, a few contrasts will be noted. Wampanoag is used here because there is no construction of Proto-Algonquian and Wampanoag has made the least amount of changes to their language from the original Proto-Algonquian. The Arapaho phoneme /tʃ/ for the voiceless palato-alveolar affricate, referred to as the symbol /c/ corresponds to the morpheme /p/ in the Wampanoag. Likewise, the voiceless glottal stop /ʔ/, noted by the symbol /'/, corresponds to /k/ and the Arapaho /b/ to the Wampanoag /m/. According to Kennteth Lock Hale from the department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and co-author of The Green Book of Language, Arapaho distinguishes itself as far as language evolution by holding onto the consonant sound /θ/ (sometimes referred to as /3/) while other Proto-Algonquian languages shifted to the use of /n/ and others still use /l,y,r,t/.
- Hale, 'The Green Book p. 283-284.
I have a few concerns with this. Some are stuff that can easily be fixed (e.g. the discussion of spelling variants, and the use of non-IPA symbols within phonemic brackets, is confusing and probably not necessary; and Ken Hale's name is misspelled). But I don't think Wampanoag is a good comparison, and I'm a little surprised Hale would have used it. The biggest drawback is that, while it's true "there is no construction of Proto-Algonquian" (I'm interpreting the phrase to mean, "there is no documentation of Proto-Algonquian, it's only a reconstruction based on modern languages"), Wampanoag is also a modern construct, in the sense that it died out before it could be subjected to modern linguistic analysis, so all conclusions concerning its phonology are to some degree uncertain. And in any case, Wampanoag isn't really a very conservative Algonquian language--none of the Eastern Algonquian languages are (If you're looking for a phonologically-conservative Algonquian language, a better bet would be Fox or Miami-Illinois!).
Of course, for Hale's purposes, just about any Algonquian language would do because "conservative" compared to Arapaho means things like "not changing *p into /k/ and /tʃ/", but still.
All that being said, I do agree that it's important to discuss Arapaho's phonological divergence from other Algonquian languages; Ives Goddard's work is useful here (a paper on Arapaho-Atsina Historical Phonology in the International Journal of American Linguistics, and the article on Plains Algonquian languages that's already cited on this Wikipedia page). I could maybe try to cull some similar examples of divergent changes from those works, but comparing Arapaho to either Proto-Algonquian reconstructions, or an extant language...
NB: I also removed from the page a few statements whose meaning I was unable to decipher, or which made no sense in context. For instance, in the discussion of /i~u/ allophony, the sentence "However /ʒ/ does occur as an exception but in underlying form only and appears in the surface form as /x/" --Miskwito (talk) 23:27, 28 October 2011 (UTC)
"Almost uniquely among the world's languages, it has no low vowels ,"
I might guess that the source for "it has no low vowels" could possibly be Sound System? If so, how reliable is that source? But also there is no source given for saying that Arpaho is "almost unique" in having no low vowels. What exactly does "almost unique" mean? Even if fewer than 1% of the world's living languages have no low vowels, that could be from about 40 to about 70 languages, of which maybe about 20 have been thoroughly studied. On the other hand why isn't it "unique"? Which other languages, or at least how many other languages, are known to have no low vowels? I could not find any source for either side of the "almost uniquely" phrase except Open vowels, which also doesn't cite any source. Eldin raigmore (talk) 19:08, 17 November 2012 (UTC)