1. Data Presented
We started collecting the present vocabulary in a unique manner in 2003 summer in Gulmit where there is a reasonable hotel while any hotel or lodge does not exist in Sisuni a little more than one-hour's walk away. Murad Shah and Ali Rehmat offered Wakhi words utilizing <
ikwor Alifbe (Wakhi Alphabet)> prepared by Fazal Amin Beg. Our two informants at this stage tried to offer as many words starting with a sound in question as possible; it naturally follows that many items outside 'basic vocabulary' kept coming into our data. This may explain the peculiarities of the present vocabulary which contains not a few non-basic items.
It is only in our second year of fieldwork that we started gathering words by means of a basic vocabulary list; we used, applying necessary emendations and corrections, Shiro Hattori's Research Files of Basic Vocabulary (Kiso-goi Chousa Hyou)
compiled on 1957, a long-established nevertheless not so satisfactory but faute de mieux still de facto standard working tool in Japanese.
Our informant is Mr. Murad Shah. While collecting the vocabulary we have also relied on other native speakers one of whom is Mr. Ali Rehmat above-referred to; our final recording which is presented here in CD, however, was conducted throughout with Murad Shah. He was born in 1970 at Sisuni village, as second son of two brothers and two sisters. After finishing junior high school of Gulmit he spent 2 years in Gilgit for high school and 8 years in Karachi for university. He has an excellent command of both Urdu and English; he is a trilingual of Wakhi, Urdu and English. He can handle Burushaski fairly well and has some basic knowledge of Persian as he took Persian class in his schooldays. Our medium of communication is English often braced by Persian and Urdu whenever suitable and available.
System of transcription is our own; not exactly alike to those of either Morgenstierne's or Gr
nberg, A. L. \& I. M. Steblin-Kamensky. 1988: La langue Wakhi, Essai grammatical et dictionnaire wakhi-franais,
et traduit par Dominique Indjoudjian, suivi de Dictionnaire franais-wakhi
tabli par Larissa Kydyrbai
va, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris (original Russian edition 1976)] or Fazal Amin Beg's. Our principles are:
(1)to avoid any unusual thus misleading reading of a familiar character. We do not use <c> for /ts/-sound against all the above-mentioned scholars. Instead, we make use of two slur-tied or tie-barred sets, namely, <
> and <
> for voiceless and voiced dental-alveolar affricates respectively.
(2)not to use any capital letters. Both Gr
nberg/Steblin-Kamensky and Fazal Amin Beg bring the corresponding capital letters into use, which is quite all right with Roman letters but invites a great difficulty with non-Roman ones.
(3)to indicate an interdental voiced fricative, <
> of IPA is adopted as against other researchers' Greek <
4. Preliminary Analysis
In what follows we offer our preliminary observations so far as our data here presented are concerned.
It is clear to linguists from the table below how to produce each sound. We add some practical and pedagogical memos with non-linguist readers in mind. In so doing we adopt when applicable the well-written pronunciation guide of Ronald L. Trail/Gregory R. Cooper(ed)1999. Hereafter V stands for a vowel and C for a consonant; <.> indicates a syllable break or syllabic boundary while <-> does a morpheme break or boundary. The letter parenthesized ( ) is optional; it is either pronounced or omitted.
There are 6 distinct vowels in Sisuni Wakhi. Their relative places of articulation are shown in the following diagram:
(The mid-central schwa /
/ in a parenthesis is non-phonemic.)
There are 36 consonants in all: 9 plosives or stops; 15 fricatives; 6 affricates; 1 flap or tap; 2 nasals; 3 approximants. We will give instructions, not necessarily linguistic but pedagogical, how to produce the sounds except for those self-evident ones.
The overall table of consonants in our transcription is: