Aspects of the Phonetics and Phonology of Ho
Ho is one of the major North Munda languages, with
around 1 million speakers, yet it has been given much less attention that the
This paper is a description of the
phonetic and phonological system of Ho, and is part of an on-going study into
the grammar of Ho. The data for this study were collected during a three month
field trip to
An interesting and hitherto undescribed feature of Ho's phonological system is the prenasalization of voiced stops, e.g., /balu/ → [mbalu] 'bear'. Voiced stops are preceded by a homorganic nasal which is not equivalent to a full nasal consonant. This is most obvious word initially but it can also be observed word medially. In this paper I present the prenasalized stops and claim that they are a phonetic process, observable in all the speakers I recorded.
Another of the more interesting features in Ho concerns the vowel system. There has been some disagreement over whether Ho has phonemic vowel length. In this paper I argue that that vowel length is indeed contrastive based on several minimal pairs as well as measurements of vowel length. There is also discussion of Ho's vowel harmony, which is of a type based on height. We will see that morphemes that harmonize reflect a sort of morphological "closeness," revealing interaction between phonological and morphological structures.
Anderson, G. D. S., Osada, T.
& Harrison K. D. 2008. 'Ho and the other Khewarian Languages' in G. D. S
Anderson (ed.), The Munda Languages.
J. 2002. Ho Grammar and Vocabulary.
J. 2005. Ho-English Dictionary.