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Description, Typology, Fieldwork

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A grammar of the Stieng language, an endangered language of Cambodia and Vietnam

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Noellie BON

Scientific framework and objectives

This PhD thesis started in 2009 within a ‘Doctoral contract’ 3LA supervized by Colette Grinevald (DDL) and Scott Delancey (University of Oregon, USA), and was defended on the 26th of March 2014. It is the first far-ranging grammar of stieng, a language of oral tradition of the Môn-Khmer group, spoken in Cambodia and Vietnam. If the exact number of speakers is currently unknown, the whole Stieng community may group 51,540 members in both countries. This dissertation is based on two different varieties of Stieng, both spoken in Cambodia (Kratie province, Snuol district). This study relies on primary data obtained among 11 speakers, within three fieldtrips realized in traditional villages, for a total duration of 12 months. This dissertation achieves a double objective by proposing a description of an endangered language (LED-TDR Team), so far very little described, in a functional-typological (DTT team), areal and genetic framework and by developing specific topics such as the expression of space (Trajectoire project). The dissertation starts with a sociolinguistic introduction of the language in order to contextualize the research. Then the linguistic topics covered in the dissertation include the phonology and the morphosyntax. The phonology part gives a summary of the phonology of the language in a comparative and diachronic perspective. The morphosyntax part is divided into different subparts respectively dedicated to word classes and the nominal, verbal and phrase domains. Special attention is given to the topics of nominal categorization, nominal composition, tense-aspect-mood (TAM), verbal serialization and the expression of space. The appendices provide additional information about the situation of minority peoples of Cambodia, further elements about the phonological analysis and three texts, glossed and translated, extracted from a larger database compiled during the fieldtrips.

  • Bon, N., 2010, "Phonology of the Stieng language: a rime study", Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 3-2, pp. 22-48
  • Bon, N., 2012, "Les classificateurs numéraux du stieng du Cambodge", Typologie et Description linguistiques : interfaces et interactions, 46, pp. 45-77
  • Bon, N., 2014, "Une grammaire de la langue stieng: langue en danger du Cambodge et du Vietnam", Thèse de Doctorat, Département de Sciences du Langage, Université Lumière Lyon 2, Lyon, 629 p.

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