The aesthetics of Jarai echo morphology

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Grammatical resources that include articulatory contrasts and patterning, word formation, euphony, and cultural poetics are all employed to distinguish highly refined and nuanced meanings in Jarai discourse. The ideology of grammatical aesthetics of Jarai is condensed – at least partially – into utterance (1).This portion of narrative discourse gives the Jarai perspective on euphony, even to the extent of employing a grammatically aesthetic form hai ƀiă. Example (2) provides a more complex set of forms demonstrating the intricate use of a multiplicity of grammatical resources to express an intensity of feeling.Example (2) demonstrates the functioning of echo word formation as well as a type of compounding that creates derivatives that are analogous to what are referred to as ‘four-syllable expressions’ in the literature on Southeast Asian linguistics. The English gloss, although an appropriate translation, is not able to convey the depth and complexity of what is being expressed by vocalic alternation in the predicate ‘criticize’ and the addition of the adverbial intensifier, which is a compound of two verbs referring to the expulsion of sputum and mucus. The Austronesian languages of Mainland Southeast Asia have typically suffered from under-representation in discussions of the areal features and areal linguistic landscape of the region. Also, being the latest of the linguistic arrivals to the region, the Austronesian representatives are often seen as the recipients of change, not as the innovators and it is clear from an examination of Jarai morphology that there are striking parallels with the Mon-Khmer languages as well as with some Tai languages. The purpose of our chapter is not to pursue the contact history of Jarai aesthetic morphology, but instead to document and categorize this important area of Jarai grammar.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Aesthetics of Grammar
Subtitle of host publicationSound and Meaning in the Languages of Mainland Southeast Asia
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781139030489
ISBN (Print)9781107007123
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


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