Topics in Ura Phonology and Morphophonology, with Lexicographic Application
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Ura, a minority language spoken in Papua New Guinea, appears to be a candidate for eventual extinction, with an estimated 1,900 speakers, very few (if any) of them monolinguals. Any language is a unique vantage point from which to see humanity and our world in its various facets, and preserving endangered languages seems at least as worthy a pursuit as the many efforts globally at saving endangered species of flora and fauna. Also of great importance is the revitalisation (or first-time facilitation) of identity, esteem and dignity for speakers with regard to their language (and, inseparably, culture). This thesis gives an overview of the sociolinguistic context of Ura, followed by a description and analysis of the phonology of Ura, and then addresses of some of the morphophonology. Features explored include vowel centring and harmony, phonologically and morphophonologically conditioned epenthesis, and diachronic and synchronic alternations. The final chapter provides practical application of the issues discussed as they would relate to an Ura dictionary, and includes samples of the suggested wording and format of introductory notes and entries. It is hoped that what is currently in progress or completed in the Ura language in terms of records, translation, literacy and linguistic analysis (of which this thesis is a part) will facilitate and support progress towards strength and vitality that will not perish.