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The Duhumbi Perspective on Proto-Western Kho-Bwa Rhymes

Timotheus Adrianus Bodt

Pages 141 - 176


The Western Kho-Bwa languages form a small, coherent sub-group of linguistic varieties belonging to the Tibeto-Burman language family. They are spoken in West Kameng district of the state of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India. The total Western Kho-Bwa speaker population is less than 6,000 and all varieties are endangered. This paper presents almost 100 sound correspondences, mainly between the two Western Kho-Bwa varieties Duhumbi and Khoitam, with additional evidence from other Western Kho-Bwa varieties and other Tibeto-Burman languages whenever deemed illustrative. On the basis of these sound correspondences, I propose 256 Western Kho-Bwa protoforms in this paper. The more remarkable feature about the Western Kho-Bwa reconstructions is the degree to which rhymes can actually be reconstructed, which can be largely attributed to the conservative preservation of plosive, nasal, approximant and fricative rhymes in Duhumbi and Khispi and the highly divergent vocal cognates of these rhymes in the Sartang and Sherdukpen varieties.


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