A Grammar of Creek (Muskogee)

By Jack B. Martin; Margaret McKane Mauldin et al. | Go to book overview

2 Overview of the language

This overview is meant as an introduction to the structure of Creek, to terms used in describing the language, and to sources of additional information.


2.1 Sounds and spelling

There are two main systems for writing Creek. The traditional spelling is that established in the nineteenth century and found in the Creek New Testament. This system uses the Latin alphabet and is partly influenced by English spelling practices. A second system was developed by Mary R. Haas in the twentieth century. Most descriptions written for linguists use a variant of her phonemic system.

Italicized forms in this work are phonemic transcriptions. In this system, Creek has thirteen consonants: c [ʧ], f, h, k, l, ɬ, m, n, p, s, t, w, y. There are three short vowels a, i, o, and three long vowels a:, i:, o:. The diphthongs are ay (generally pronounced and written ey), oy, and aw. Vowels and diphthongs may be nasalized (written a:ⁿ, awⁿ, etc.). Nasalized vowels are usually long, but are short before sonorants in the same syllable. Three separate phenomena affect pitch: tonal accent, indicated in this work by accents over vowels, is primarily used for verbal aspect and includes falling tone (ˆ) and rising tone (ˇ); stress, indicated by an acute accent over a vowel (´), occurs in all types of words and is generally predictable based on word shape and word structure; intonation, marked in this work with accents that follow words, includes falling (^), rising (ˇ), and high (′) pitch patterns at the ends of utterances.


2.2 Basic word order and discourse markers

The basic word order in Creek is subject, object, verb. The subject is often followed by -(i)t (1)–(2), and the object is often followed by -(i)n (2).

-21-

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A Grammar of Creek (Muskogee)
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xv
  • Foreword xix
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Abbreviations and Conventions xxiii
  • The Language and Its Speakers 1
  • 1- Creek and the Creek-Speaking Peoples 3
  • 2- Overview of the Language 21
  • 3- Creek Dialects and Ways of Speaking 38
  • Phonology 45
  • 4- Phonemes 47
  • 5- General Phonological Processes 62
  • 6- The Organization of Phonemes into - Higher Units 70
  • 7- Stress and Tone in Nouns 75
  • 8- Stress, Tone, and Grades in Verbs 83
  • 9- Orthography 101
  • Nouns and Their Modifiers 105
  • 10- Nominalization 107
  • 11- Compounding 114
  • 12- Plural Nouns 127
  • 13- Size 131
  • 14- Possession 133
  • 15- Pronouns 142
  • 16- Postpositions 147
  • 17- Noun Forms with Adverbial Function 149
  • 18- Adjectival Nouns (Quantifiers) 151
  • Verbs and Their Modifiers 153
  • 19- Locative Prefixes 155
  • 20- Agreement 168
  • 21- Reflexives and Reciprocals 179
  • 22- Adding Objects- Dative and Instrumental 183
  • 23- Plural Verbs 197
  • 24- Voice Alternations- Middle -K-, Causative -IC- And -Ipeyc- 214
  • 25- Impersonals 228
  • 26- Degree 233
  • 27- Verb Forms with Adverbial Function 238
  • 28- Aspect 241
  • 29- Expressing Time- Tense and Related Notions 257
  • 30- Negation 281
  • 31- Mood 284
  • 32- ‘Be’, Auxiliaries, and Modality 298
  • 33- Numbers and Quantifiers 313
  • 34- Describing Motion and Direction 323
  • 35- Existence 328
  • 36- Sound-Symbolic Verbs 333
  • Discourse Markers 335
  • 37- Case and Switch-Reference Markers 337
  • 38- Focus of Attention Clitic 357
  • 39- Referential Clitic 360
  • 40- Other Markers 364
  • Syntax 369
  • 41- Word Order and Basic Syntax 371
  • 42- Clause Types 387
  • 43- Interpreting Pronouns, Reflexives, and Reciprocals 407
  • 44- Style 416
  • Appendices 421
  • Appendix 1 - Paradigms 423
  • Appendix 2 - Texts 436
  • Appendix 3 - List of Common Affixes 445
  • References 455
  • Index 469
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