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Title: A Description of Jruq (loven): A Mon-Khmer language of the Lao PDR
Authors: Jacq, Pascale
Keywords: Jruq (Laven) - Grammar
Bahnaric Languages
Mon-Khmer Languages
Austroasiatic Languages
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Australian National University
Abstract: This thesis is a description of Jruq (a.k.a Boloven, Lawen), a Mon-Khmer language of mainland Southeast Asia. It is a minority language spoken in the Champassak, Attapeu and Saravane provinces of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The investigation is based predominantly on the data I collected during four intensive fieldwork trips between 1997 and 2000. Jruq has not been studied thoroughly by linguists, and as a result there is very little literature available on it, mostly some wordlists, some very basic grammatical information and a small amount of text. This thesis is an attempt at a more complete and systematic description, within the limits of a Masters thesis. The range of topics covered include phonetics, phonology, morphology and syntax. Special attention is given to some particular features of Jruq which are typologically unusual, or otherwise noteworthy, these include: - the phonation-type distinctions among initial consonants (this is treated as a phonological rather than phonetic distinction) - the distinction of active rather than passive articulators in determining the major places of consonant articulation, - word and syllable structure, and my proposal to treat the phonological word as basically monosyllabic, - the interesting system of prefixation which is now no longer productive, and has been partly obscured by phonological changes to the language, - the complex Tense, Aspect and Mood system unusual for other Mon-Khmer languages, - the indigenous 'Khom' script, previously not described in detail in the literature. Chapter 1 is a basic introduction to the Jruq language and speakers, describing Jruq's broad linguistic affiliation and an ethnographic account of the Jruq as a distinct language community. Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sounds of Jruq. Of particular interest are the phonetic distinctions between laryngeal settings for all consonants. I provide spectrographic and instrumental analyses of my field recordings to illustrate these sounds. Chapter 3 is a phonological treatment of the sounds discussed in Chapter 2. An analysis of word and syllable structure is given which best accounts for the highly restricted segments in particular positions of the word. Chapter 4 examines the natural word classes in Jruq determined by syntactic criteria. Chapter 5 describes Jruq phrase types which are explained using Phrase structure rules and illustrated with Tree diagrams. Chapter 6 describes the Sentence types which are determined by sentence-level intonation patterns (plus the use of various Particles). The thesis also includes various appendices. Appendix I is a lexicon of 1500 Jru' words I recorded. These are sorted by initial consonant and I have included phonetic transcriptions of their pronunciation as I heard them. Appendix II is a brief description of the 'Khom' (Kommadam) script which was devised by the Jruq King, Ong Kommadam in the 1930's. Appendix III comprises five glossed and translated Jruq texts. These include a monologue by Mr. Lin about his experiences during the US bombing of Paksong in 1971; a recipe for making 'Sukiyaki' by Miss Toi; a description of the traditional Jruq 'welcoming ceremony', by Mr. Ching; the 'Bulbul' song by Miss Toi and myself; and a short description by Mr. Lin of traditional burial practices.
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