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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2011-007

Phonology of the Orma Language

Author  Hoskins, Dale R.
Abstract  This study describes the phonology of the Orma language. Orma is a member of the Oromo language cluster, which belongs to the East-Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family. The Orma language is spoken by at least 69,000 Orma people. Most of them live in the Tana River district of Kenya’s Coast province. Orma has a five-vowel system, each of which may be long, short, or voiceless. Voiceless vowels only occur word-final. There are four syllable patterns permitted in Orma: V, VC, CV, and CVC. These are clearly seen in the orthography since the Orma community leaders chose to avoid digraphs. Orma morphophonemics is rather complex. Suffixation described includes verb inflectional and derivational suffixes and certain case endings. Prefixation described includes reduplication and the use of common bound morphemes. Orma has tone, but its functional load is minimal and not marked in the orthography.
  Phonology of the Orma Language
Published  2011
Language  Orma [orc]
Country  Kenya
Subject  Phonological descriptions
Keywords  phonology; Cushitic languages; Oromo languages; Orma; reduplication; phonologically-based grammatical gender