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The phonology of Tausug : a descriptive analysis Tan, Evangeline K.


In the last few years there has been a steadily growing interest in linguistic science. As a result, more and more of the languages of the world are coming within the range of linguistic scrutiny. This interest is increasingly manifested in Philippine linguistics as evidenced by the number of languages and dialects of the country that have already been and are being explored. Some Philippine languages have been extensively investigated, while others have been insufficiently explored. Linguistic investigation of Tausug (which is the native language of the investigator) is urgently needed. Except for the work entitled "The Phonemes of Tausug" by Seymour and Lois Ashley of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL), no other linguistic studies of the language have been done. In view of the inadequacy, this present work on a synchronic descriptive analysis of Tausug phonology is here made available. The purpose of this study is to give a sufficiently comprehensive description of the phonological phenomena of Tausug, with the end in view of providing basic explanations concerning the phonological system of the language which should be useful to those interested in Tausug linguistics. It is also hoped that the analysis will be of some pedagogical significance in teaching a second language to native speakers of Tausug and in providing a theoretical foundation for future modifications and innovations in the Tausug orthographical system. In the main, the phonological analysis of Tausug centers on the dialect of Siasi town proper (STP), of which the investigator is a native speaker. Whenever possible, however, discussions of the dialectal varieties are included. An attempt is also made to provide for general categories valid for all dialects. As suggested in the title, 'The Phonology of Tausug: A Descriptive Analysis’, the method of approach to the study of the sounds of the language is descriptive. This is made possible by means of the physiological approach, and primarily the articulatory technique. Using the speech organs as a familiar frame of reference, the phonetic raw material of the language is analyzed and described first. Phonological analysis, however, goes beyond the phonetic level. The ultimate aim is to establish the phonemic system of the language, hence, the need for the classification of the phonetic raw material into functional units, i.e., the phonemes. Certain fundamental criteria such as phonetic similarity, complementary distribution, pattern congruity, and identity of function are observed in the phonemic classification. With the use of the contrasting pairs (minimal pairs, which differ only in one feature or phoneme), the establishment of the identity of each of the phonemes of Tausug is further strengthened. To complete the analysis of Tausug phonology, brief discussions of the suprasegmental features and the morphophonemics of the language are included. Although thoroughness and accuracy has been aimed at, the analysis is far from being exhaustive or complete. Completeness in any linguistic investigation is unattainable as long as language keeps on changing and knowledge of linguistic science keeps on advancing. And with the dearth to date of linguistic studies of the Tausug language, this present analysis of the phonological structure of the language permits no more than tentative conclusions.

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