Lew, Sigrid (2013). A linguistic analysis of the Lao writing system and its suitability for minority language orthographies. Writing Systems Research, (ahead-of-print), 1-16. Link to the published article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17586801.2013.846843
Abstract: Standard Lao, the official language in the Lao PDR, is spoken in and around the capital Vientiane. Lexicon, vowels and especially tone inventories of the many Lao dialects in the nation differ tremendously. A new orthography to replace the traditional Pali-based orthography which was hard to teach and learn was established during the Lao language reform in 1975. This study investigates the grapheme-phoneme correspondences of Lao orthography and its applicability to other languages in the multilingual nation. After a short introduction to the Lao language and the linguistic situation in the country, the Lao phoneme inventory and a description of the nature and historical development of Lao script are presented, including some taxonomic considerations discussing the segmental, suprasegmental and syllabic features of this script. This is followed by a linguistic evaluation of the orthography and a summary in the light of how to apply Lao script to other languages spoken in the country. Three minority orthographies based on Lao script illustrate that the almost entirely direct phonemic correspondences, consistency in the formation of multigraphs, the rich grapheme inventory, and the both segmental and syllabic characteristics of this semi-alphabetic script support a direct application to other, even unrelated languages with contrastive suprasegmental features like tone or voice quality. No orthography testing or studies on literacy acquisition have been done on these or any other Lao-script based minority scripts yet, so that firm recommendations regarding the creation of new Lao-script based orthographies cannot be given.
Page, Christina Joy. "A new orthography in an unfamiliar script: a case study in participatory engagement strategies." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development (2013): 1-16. DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2013.783035
Abstract: This paper describes a series of workshops in which speakers of two minority languages in southeast Asia without a written tradition developed orthographies for their languages. Sociolinguistic factors affecting orthography design and acceptability are explained, particularly those motivating script choice, followed by linguistic considerations for orthography development. A discussion of the necessity for community participation in orthography development includes methods for facilitating a participatory orthography development process. Next, a case study of participatory orthography development where two language communities developed their initial orthography proposals with the author's involvement is presented. As a result of various sociolinguistic factors, both groups of workshop attendants developed an orthography in a script previously unknown to the majority of their language communities. The paper outlines the process used for this, as well as specific strategies for involving language committee members in orthography development. An evaluation of the case study in the light of previous research is given in the conclusion, followed by a discussion of how participatory orthography processes can be applied when working with other language communities, in order to develop orthography proposals that are sociolinguistically acceptable.
Abstract: The Austroasiatic language Muak Sa-aak, belonging to the Angkuic branch of Eastern Palaungic, is a tonal language spoken in Eastern Shan State of Myanmar and in China. This paper provides a phonological description of a variety spoken in Eastern Shan State. Like other Angkuic languages, Muak Saaak has undergone a shift whereby proto voiced stops have become voiceless and voiceless stops have become aspirated. However, the language does have the voiced stops /b, d/, due to borrowing. Despite the development of tone, Muak Sa-aak retains contrastive vowel length. Another surprising feature of this language is the phenomenon of final sonorant lengthening for short vowels.
Abstract: Kmhmu’ is a language of the Mon-Khmer language family. Extensive linguistic research and analysis of the varieties of Kmhmu’ spoken in Southeast Asia has led to the grouping of Kmhmu’ into three dialect categories, generally referred to as Northern, Western and Southern (Svantesson 1989). The orthographydescribed in this paper was developed for the Southern dialect and utilizes a Lao-based script. Suksavang and Preisig (Suksavanget al 1994) were instrumental in refining this orthography. This description of the Southern Kmhmu’ orthography explains how the Lao script is used and/or adapted to represent the Kmhmu’ phonemes, presents orthographic conventions for writing words of various structural types and summarizes teaching/learning experiences observed in mother-tongue Kmhmu’ speakers.
Abstract: Kmhmu' is a language of the Mon-Khmer language family. Extensive linguistic research and analysis of the varieties of Kmhmu' spoken in Southeast Asia has led to grouping of Kmhmu' into three major dialect categories, generally referred to as Northern, Western and Southern (Svantesson 1989). The orthography described in this paper was developed for the Southern dialect and utilizes a Lao-based script. Suksavang and Preisig (Suksavang et al 1994) were instrumental in refining this orthography. This description of the Southern Kmhmu' orthography explains how the Lao script is used and/or adapted to represent the Kmhmu' phonemes, presents orthographic conventions for writing words of various structural types and presents a review of teaching/learning experiences observed in mother-tongue Kmhmu' speakers.
Abstract: This paper provides an overview of Lacid phonology. It begins by examining four previous studies, followed by the author's own phonological analysis of the Lacid language. The author's analysis includes syllable and word structure, Lacid consonants and consonantal processes, Lacid vowels and vowel processes, morphophonemics, tone and voice quality analyses. The papers concludes with a comparison of the previous studies with the author's analysis and suggestions for further study.
Abstract: Khmu is a Mon-Khmer language spoken in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and China. There has been extensive linguistic research conducted among Khmu communities, and there have been experimental efforts to apply this research toward the development of an orthography using the Thai script to serve the Khmu of Thailand, but currently there is not an orthography that has been accepted by Khmu communities and used for the development of local language literature. This research was conducted to gather salient sociolinguistic, education, literacy, and inter-dialect intelligibility data that will inform the process and products of a community-based language development program that may include orthography development, design and use of local language literacy instruction materials and ultimately the production of local language literature and non-print media resources that will be relevant to community needs and desires. This research was conducted among Khmu communities of Chon Daen sub-district, Nan province, Thailand, during 2008.
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