By Birgit Hellwig
This is the 1st description of Goemai, a West Chadic language of Nigeria. Goemai is spoken in a language touch region, and this touch has formed Goemai grammar to the level that it may be thought of a reasonably untypical Chadic language. The grammar offers the constitution of the present-day language, relates it to its diachronic resources, and provides a semantic standpoint to the description.
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Additional resources for A Grammar of Goemai
3 below). 1) is an exhaustive list of all attested pairs that involve close vowels and mid back vowels. fu the case of /i:/ and Iii and of /u:/ and lui, vowel length is nevertheless assumed to be phonemic. This tentative analysis is adopted because it was not possible to account for their distribution otherwise. But further research may show that length is predictable. , /jti:l/- /jf:V- /jfgfV 'rise'). fu the case of /'d:/, /o:/ and /o:/, no corresponding short vowels are posited. fu medial position, the close central vowel /'d:/ is always realized long (excepting ['d) as a variant of labialization).
1 for the development of palatal fricatives). Such an origin would explain why [o] is realized short, contrary to the expectation that a mid back vowel should be realized long preceding /m/. ,~L h.............. lh ih II. J. h. ~o1Hhildlbi.. Iddu. 351746 Time(s) Figure 3. Vowel length The two groups of diphthongs can co-occur. For example, the three vowels in the word /mHai! , *fmwaj/. It is not clear how the Goemai vowel inventory compares to that of ProtoCharlie and of other Chadic languages. Chadic languages are known to distinguish vowel length (P Newman 1977a: 12; Takacs 2004: xxi), but the Goemai pattern may not be inherited.
Table (4) above indicates a further development: the development of Goemai palatal fricatives from the palatal stops of the proto-language. This diachronic development has its synchronic parallels in that Goemai speakers realize the voiced palatal fricative alternatively as a voiced palatal stop (in free variation). While some present-day palatal fricatives are reflexes of palatal stops, others probably result from a more recent development: a reanalysis of velar stops and alveolar fricatives (see below).