The Duhumbi perspective on Proto-Western Kho-Bwa onsets
The eight Western Kho-Bwa varieties are spoken in western Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India and form a small, coherent sub-group of the Tibeto-Burman (Trans-Himalayan / Sino-Tibetan) language family.This paper presents 96 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 basis of these sound correspondences, I propose 282 Western Kho-Bwa proto-forms including a total of 92 onsets. The less common reconstructed Western Kho-Bwa onsets are the uvular onsets and the voiceless nasal and approximant onsets.A unique innovation of the Western Kho-Bwa languages, and indeed the Kho-Bwa languages in general, is the correspondence of initial *s- in other Tibeto-Burman languages to a vocal onset in Proto-Western Kho-Bwa and its descendent varieties. Another relatively unique innovation is the correspondence between Western Kho-Bwa obstruent onsets *b- and *g- ~ *kʰ- ~ *k- and other Tibeto-Burman nasal onsets *m- and *ŋ-, respectively.
Keywords: Western Kho-Bwa, proto-language, historical-comparative linguistics, Sartang, Sherdukpen
Published online: 16 April 2021
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