[Lingtyp] Apostrophe highlighting morphological information

Seino van Breugel seinobreugel at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 08:25:08 UTC 2020

Dear Jeff,

In Atong and Standard Garo orthography, both Tibeto-Burman languages spoken
in Northeast India and Bangladesh, the apostrophe indicates glottalisation
of the preceding syllable. As an example of how this works in Atong, here
are some minimal or near minimal pairs of words with and without
glottalisation (adapted from: van Breugel, Seino. Forthcoming. *A
dictionary of Atong: A Tibeto-Burman language of Northeast India and
Bangladesh*. de Gruyter Mouton.




‘to peel’


‘to sharpen a pointy object’


‘Nepali, Nepalese, Nepal’


‘type of bee’ (*neʔ* ‘bee’ + *kat* ‘?’)




‘foot, leg’


‘to hear’




‘to scold’





*ri' myl=a*

(penis small=cust) ‘the penis is small’










‘to crawl’


‘to be able, to achieve’


‘to dry’


‘to search’






‘to go up


‘chicken, bird’

Kind regards,

Dr. Seino van Breugel

On Mon, Sep 14, 2020 at 8:58 AM Françoise Rose <francoise.rose at univ-lyon2.fr>

> Dear Jeff,
> could you please forward this answer to your colleague ?
> For Mojeño Trinitario (Arawak, Bolivia), the apostrophe represents the
> glottal stop, in all possible positions: #"C, V'V, V'C but SOME authors use
> it also to signal one type of morpheme boundaries, between <t> and <y>
> because <ty> could be interpreted like the phoneme /c/ while the
> apostrophe, by showing the morpheme boundary, indicates that it is a
> sequence /tj/ (with t- being a prefix and j the initial consonant of the
> following root). Other authors use <-> instead, and still others leave this
> morpheme boundary unmarked, leaving the interpretation of /tj/ vs /c/ to
> the reader (on the basis of their knowledge of the lexicon).
> Best,
> Françoise
> Françoise ROSE
> Directrice de Recherches 2ème classe, CNRS
> Laboratoire Dynamique Du Langage (CNRS/Université Lyon2)
> 16 avenue Berthelot
> 69007 Lyon
> (33)4 72 72 64 63
> www.ddl.cnrs.fr/ROSE
> -----Message d'origine-----
> De : Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> De la part de
> Jeff Siegel
> Envoyé : vendredi 11 septembre 2020 06:41
> À : lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> Objet : [Lingtyp] Apostrophe highlighting morphological information
> Greetings:
> I'm posting a question from a colleague in Germany:
> do you know of any language where the apostrophe represents a glottal stop
> and where it highlights morphological information? that is, the apostrophe
> (the glottal stop) only occurs at word-initial or word-final position or at
> morpheme boundaries. it would be great if you could give me an example.
> unfortunately i could not find any in the literature.
> Grateful for any replies.
> Thanks,
> Jeff
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