Along with Y. Chao, he must be reckoned one of the greatest Chinese linguists of the 20th century.
William J. Building on the pedagogical materials she had assembled during and after the War years Haas a, a, b, , , Haas taught Thai in the Berkeley Oriental Languages Department from to Subhanka, was the culmination of this early work, and constituted the high-water mark of the Holt "Spoken Language Series". Thus the English sentence "Where are you going? Yet it was essential to sensitize the American student to the fact that Thai is a language with highly codified levels of politeness based on such factors as age, status, and gender.
It behooves us rather to appreciate this pioneering book for its manifold excellences: the clarity and accuracy of its grammatical notes, and the insight displayed in the organization of its drills and pattern practices. Haas' analysis of Thai phonology has stood the test of time. Her elegant phonemic transcription including her diacritical marks for the tones was accepted as standard for decades, and even today has only undergone minor modifications mostly for the worse by one writer or another.
A few points are of special interest:. Yet Haas stuck to her guns here, and I have heard her spiritedly offer several arguments to buttress her position. Haas was adamant rightly I believe about always transcribing initial glottal stop, even though it is automatic before an initial vowel that is not preceded by any other consonant, on the grounds that "once a phoneme always a phoneme". Since all vowels in open syllables are long e. Besides its practical mnemonic value the learner does not have to remember either the "vowel lengthening rule' or the "glottal-stop insertion rule" , this has the advantage of allowing Haas to distinguish a third type of syllable: unstressed, often toneless syllables with short vowels, written with a single vowel but no glottal stop e.
Haas was among the first to describe the syntax and semantics of numeral classifiers in Southeast Asian languages, both for Thai Haas b and for Burmese Haas a.
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She was particularly interested in Thai techniques of word-formation, such as reduplication Haas c , intensification Haas , and "elaboration". This Preface itself constitutes the best capsule account of Thai morphology anyone has produced. Haas's anthropological background led her to pay special attention to Thai linguistic phenomena that directly reflect aspects of Thai society and culture.
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It was in this line of research that she gave relatively free rein to the more humorous, even racy, side of her personality. In "Thai word games" , she describes how speakers intentionally mutilate the phonological structure of dissyllabic collocations for comic effect, often by a kind of spoonerism whereby the initial consonants remain intact while the vowels and tones of the syllables get switched, e. This word-play is actually of great interest, in terms of figuring out how native speakers parse the elements of their syllables.
In "Sibling terms as used by marriage partners" , she explores the complex realm of Thai terms of address within the family, where couples often start by addressing each other as if they were siblings; then after having children settling into teknonymy, addressing each other as the parent of their child. Beautifully clear and systematic, but without burdening the learner with historical explanations for the synchronic complexities, this is the indispensable introduction to the Thai writing system. After the elegant grammatical sketch in the front matter pp.
Every entry is painstakingly crafted, with absolute consistency of format. The glosses are clear and crisp, natural and unstilted, often with three or four English equivalents to delineate the precise range of meaning. The lemmata are richly illustrated by examples and subentries. Even non-initial bound syllables in compounds appear in their proper alphabetical place as head entries, rather than being swept under the rug.
The sin of "pernicious interalphabetization" committed in all too many dictionaries of Southeast Asian languages, whereby collocations involving homophonous morphemes are interalphabetized in a single list regardless of their morphemic identity, is rigorously avoided: every collocation appears under its proper head-entry. Although Thai is basically monomorphosyllabic i.
The stress patterns of stretches of speech larger than the monosyllable are independent of the tones of the individual syllables, and Haas insisted on carefully marking both tone and stress for every entry and subentry. I would like to close with a few personal reminiscences. When I entered the Berkeley linguistics department as a graduate student in the fall of , Haas was Chair, and her influence on the departmental ethos was pervasive.
I was somehow imbued with such radical Haasian notions as that to really do right by one's language of study, one had to produce a grammar, dictionary, and collection of texts for it. Although I never actually took a course from Haas for credit, my whole academic life was crucially influenced by her. It was she who steered me into Southeast Asian linguistics. She was contacted early in by a young anthropology student at the University of Arizona, an ethnic Jingpho Kachin from northern Burma named LaRaw Maran, who told her that he wanted to work on his language with a linguist that summer.
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Miss Haas knew that I was interested in Japanese and Chinese, and correctly judging that Jingpho was close enough, arranged for me to be the one to work with him. I was eventually offered a Fulbright to do fieldwork on Jingpho in Burma for , but all foreigners were kicked out of Burma in a wave of rabid xenophobia by the end of Again Miss Haas decisively intervened, and suggested that I change my Fulbright destination to Thailand.
There was a lovely city in northern Thailand, she told me, called Chiengmai, where I would have access to speakers of many minority languages. I had purchased a large handsome painted plaster of Paris Buddha statue in Tijuana for something under two dollars. Mary and I were seated next to each other on the plane back to San Francisco, the Buddha statue on my lap. The flight turned out to be horrendously turbulent, and free cocktails were distributed to take the passengers' minds off their possibly imminent demise. Mary and I each had several. When at length we landed safely in SFO, not a few passengers came up to thank the Buddha for his help and protection.
I had never seen Miss Haas as jolly as she was at that moment, demonstrating the proper way to make obeisance. Cooke, Joseph. Pronominal Reference in Thai, Burmese, and Vietnamese. University of California Publications in Linguistics Cornyn, William S. Outline of Burmese Grammar. Language Spoken Burmese. Basic course. New York. Burmese Chrestomathy. Washington, D. Burmese Glossary.
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Gauhati: Publication Board Assam, Tribes of Assam India: The land and people. New Delhi: National Book Trust, Outlines of Indian Philology with a map showing the distribution of Indian Languages. London: Seminar in dialectology: Papers and dis- cussions. Trivendrum: Dept, of Linguistics, University of Kerala, Tribal languages of South Kerala. Tribal India. Calcutta: The World Press, Problems of Tribal languages in India. In Language and Society in India: Proceed- ings of a seminar. Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Tribal life in India. On the Non-Aryan languages of India.
Language, Religion and Politics in India. Delhi: Vikas, Ujjain: Avanti Prakashan. Cultural policy and tribal population. Delhi: Vikas Publishing House, Languages of the tribal communities of India and their use in primary education. Simla: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, pp. Sanskrit and the Pre-Aryan tribes and languages.