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3. [m] /m/ brother’s wife
  [mì] /mì/ fire
4. [n] /n/ pain
  [nò] /nò/ ear
5. [s] /s/ foot print
[s] /s/ cloth

  Consonants-General remarks :


There are 33 consonantal phonemes in Lotha language. These consonants are grouped into different classes on the basis of point and manner of articulation. On the basis of the point of articulation Lotha has seven way opposition, these are 1. Bilabial 2. Labiodental 3. Dental 4. Alveolar 5. Palatal 6. Velar 7. Glottal. On the basis of the manner of articulation also Lotha has seven way opposition, there are 1. Stops 2. Affricates 3. Fricatives 4. Nasals 5. Laterals 6. Trills 7. Frictionless continuants (semi-vowels).

In addition to the above mentioned interclass opposition, there are intra-class oppositions i.e., Stops, Affricates, Nasals, Laterals and Trills show the opposition for aspiration. Opposition for voicing is found only in Fricatives except glottal fricative which does not have the voiced counter part. Lotha does not have voiced stops at the phonemic level. Hence /pv/ which is voiced labiodental unaspirated affricate starts with voicelessness and ends in a release. Lotha does not have voiced bilabial stop, this gap is substituted by the voiced Labiodental Affricate /pv/. Most of the Lotha consonantal phonemes occur only initially and medially except /k/, /v/, /s/, /h/, /n/, //, /l/, /r/ and /y/ which occur in all the three positions of a word i.e., initially, medially and finally.

All aspirated consonants are treated as unit phonemes rather than sequences of two consonants because of the following reasons.

  1. Phonological system of Lotha does not permit four consonant clusters in any position. The occur rence of three consonant clusters is very limited in the initial and medial positions and there are no three consonant clusters in the final position. Even in the medial position examples of three conso nant clusters are very few. Hence, in the following examples : ykchyà ‘across’ khnthyù ‘brinjal’ etc if the aspirated consonants like /ch/ and /th/ are treated as sequences of two consonants then they would form four consonant clusters which is not permitted in the phonological system of Lotha. If they are treated as unit phonemes then it would form three consonant clusters which is permissable in the medial position.

2. If we take the syllable boundry into account then also syllable division does not take place between an unaspirated consonant and aspirated consonant. For example : y¡kchyà here, syllabic bound ary occurs at /k/ as yk-chyà and not ykc-hyà, this type of syllable division applies to all words. Hence, if aspirated consonants are treated as unit phonemes the syllable division will not be affected.

3. Contrast is not found between single aspirated consonant and sequence of a single consonant plus h. In other words contrast is not found in Lotha for th-th, ph-ph, kh-kh etc.

On the basis of the above reasons aspirated consonants are treated as unit phonemes rather than sequence of two consonant phonemes.

  Contrast for consonants

Contrast for consonant phonemes is given on the basis of opposition for,

1. aspiration

2. voicing








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