Munda in Early NW India

Rick Mc Callister rmccalli at sunmuw1.MUW.Edu
Fri Apr 13 08:12:50 UTC 2001

>David L. White wrote:

>>Do the Munda languages have retroflex consonants?  That would surely
>>be convenient.

>Witzel's article "Substrate Languages in Old Indo-Aryan" [EJVS,
>] notes that
>"...Munda originally had no retroflexes (Pinnow 1959, except for D,
>see Zide 1969: 414, 423)."  I haven't seen the references, but it may
>be relevant that Munda is related to Vietnamese (does that have

	Here are my notes from Encyclopedia Britannica vol XXII. I know
just about nothing about these languages, so don't take my word on any of
this. My apologies are any typos

	"Austroasiatic" 701-03

	Important as a linguistic substratum for all SE Asian languages
	12 branches separated c. 2000-1000 BC
	Paul Benedict proposed Austric, including Austro-Asiatic,
	Tai-Kadai, Miao-Yao and Austronesian

	Munda has has extensive Indian influence in its phonology
	--polysyllablic without tones
	Vietnamese has extensive Chinese influence, monosyllabic tonal language
	3 main subfamilies: Munda, Nicobarese and Mon-Khmer, 12 branches
	General phonology: voiced/unvoiced consonants, some pre-glottalized
	in Mon-Khmer, vowel system can be very elaborate --Bru has 41 vowel
	phonemes; nasal vowels, vowel length usually phonemic
	Viet-Muong is the only branch with complex tone languages, probably
	due to outside influence
	Simple 2-tone contrast is most common
	"Creaky" vs "breathy" (normal) vowel register is common
	Munda has extremely complicated morphology with prefixes, infixes
	and suffixes
	Munda verbs are inflected for person, number, tense, negation, mood
	(intensitive, durative, repetitive), definiteness, location and
	agreement with object.
	Derivations include intransitive, causitive, reciprocal and
	reflexive forms
	Vietnamese has practically no morphology
	Nicobarese is the only non-Munda language without suffixes
	A few languages have enclitics. Infixes and prefixes are common,
onlu final vowel and consonant are untouched. More than 1 or 2 affixes is
rare in 1 root because roots are usually monosyllabic. The same prefix or
infix may have many functions --a nasal infix may turn verbs into nouns and
mass nouns into count nouns. Reduplicationmay indicate plurality in nouns
and repetition in verbs. many affixes are only found in fossilized form and
have often lost their meaning. There is a special "expressive" class.
	SVO, no "be" copula. Ergative expressed as intrumental complement
	of verb
	Munda syntax is like Dravidian and is now SOV
	Much borrowing from Chinese, Sanskrit, Pali, etc. Taboo replacement
	of vocabulary common

Rick Mc Callister
Mississippi University for Women
Columbus MS 39701

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