Tutrugbu Practicum

Tutrugbu (Nyangbo) Practicum

Co-Instructors: James Essegbey, Felix Ameka & Adam McCollum

Tutrugbu is one of 15 languages (originally 14) that were first characterized as Togorestsprachen (Struck 1912) and in English as Togo Remnant languages (cf. Westermann and Bryant 1952). Later characterizations are Central Togo (CT) and Ghana Togo Mountain (GTM) languages, because they are located along the mountain ranges of Ghana and Togo border. GTM languages belong to the Kwa language family. Although Nyagbo (or Nyangbo) is the official name and that speakers use when talking about the language to non-natives, they themselves call it Tutrugbu, the name we shall use for the course. Tutrugbu is spoken in 9 townships. In 2008, an informal census established a total population of 4405 out of which 2176 lived in areas where the language is not spoken. Speakers of Tutrugbu call themselves Batrugbu (Atrugbu for singular). Tutrugbu is becoming overshadowed by Ewe, the dominant regional language. Children grow up bilingual in Tutrugbu and Ewe and Ewe is used in school as early as kindergarten.

For this practicum, students will work with an adult native speaker to test different methods of eliciting data in order to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Issues relating to data analysis will be addressed. The specific domains we shall cover are:

  • Identifying Tutrugbu tones
  • Analyzing vowel harmony
  • Developing an orthography
  • Documenting lexical knowledge
  • Investigating noun categorization
  • Processing recorded material (transcription, glossing & translation)
  • Describing constructions (Argument Structure, Locative)
  • Ethnography of speaking Tutrugbu
  • Teasing apart contact features in Tutrugbu