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A NOTE ON THE ORTHOGRAPHY vii T he orthography used here is a version of the Smalgyax spelling system used by the Tsmsyeen Smalgyax Authority, the (erstwhile ) Tsimshian Tribal Council, as well as the treaty offices of the individual Tsimshian bands in British Columbia. Its pedigree can be traced to Lonnie Hindle and Bruce Rigsby’s Gitksan writing system, which was also used as a template for Nisgaa orthography (Hindle and Rigsby 1973; Rigsby 1986:46–50). It was first adapted to “Coast Tsimshian” by John Dunn (1978:iv), with modifications such as the substitution of ¬ for hl. In the 1990s the Dunn system was updated as Smalgyax materials (beginning with Marsden 1992) were prepared for School District No. 52 in Prince Rupert. Modifications at that point included deleting some diacritics for allophonic distinctions (as is the case for nearly every instance of a ~a, a distinction with a vanishingly small phonemic load) and the indication of syllabic constants with an underline (as in -m). A “Draft Glossary” (Dunn, Tarpent, et al. n.d.) to accompany those materials was, when I began working with the Tsimshian, the most reliable source, although it is necessarily less comprehensive than Dunn’s earlier Dictionary (1978) and has been succeeded by a successful community-based dictionary project (Tsmsyeen Smalgyax Authority 2001a, 2001b), which has modified the orthography in a slightly different direction from that used here or in, say, Marsden (1992). (See Stebbins 2001 for insights into the organic nature of Tsimshian orthographic development and of some of the gray areas in spelling choices.) The following list shows phonetic realizations for the symbols used here, not counting letters that have their cardinal values as in English. The list is not meant to exhaust the phonological nuances of Smalgyax; I do not, for example, incorporate Jean Mulder’s suggested palatalized and labialized series (1994:20); labialization, if truly phonemic, has nowhere near the phonemic load it does in Gitksanimx and Nisgaa. Nor do I distinguish here between preglottalization and postglottalization. Also, Smalgyax makes no phonemic distinction between voiced and unvoiced stops or affricates, so that /p/ often comes out as [b], /t/ as [d], and so forth. But the allophonic distinctions between voiced and unvoiced, corresponding to English phonemic distinctions, are preserved in Smalgyax spellings to make the system friendlier to those users of Smalgyax (i.e., virtually all of them) who are habituated to the conventions of English spelling. With those caveats in mind, this key provides ready understandings to anyone familiar with the language and enables those unfamiliar to pronounce Smalgyax serviceably well. (Among published sources, see Dunn 1979:vi–viii and Mulder 1994:19–28 for more on Tsimshian phonology.) Symbol Sound æ [e] (but [ ] ~ [] in glottal or postvelar environment ) aa [æ:] ~ [ε:] dz [dz] ~ [d] e [e] ~ [ε] ee [e:ə] ~ [ε:ə] g [G] (equivalent to a uvular [g] or voiced [q]) (dropped in some intervocalic positions) i [I] viii A Note on the Orthography ï ii [i:ə] k [q] k [qʔ] l [l] ɔ [ɔ] ~ [ ] ɔ: [ɔ:] ~ [ :] s [s] ~ [š] ts [c] ts [cʔ] ~ [č] u [u] uu [u:ə] ü [ɯ] (unrounded [u]) üü [ɯ:] (unrounded [u:]) ẅ [] (unrounded [w]) x [ç] ~ [x]  [ʔ] or a glottalization of the preceding consonant A Note on the Orthography ix ɒ ɒ ...


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