A Grammar of Nahavaq (Malakula, Vanuatu) by Dimock, Laura Gail

By Dimock, Laura Gail

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Neutralisation of labiovelar and bilabial consonants appears to first occur word-finally. Some speakers, who maintain the disction elsewhere, lose it word-finally, with all labial consonants after front vowels becoming bilabial and all labial consonants after non-front vowels becoming labiovelar (“First change” in Table 14). 28 Table 14: Neutralisation of labial consonants over time Gloss Oldest First change Second changeYoungest (age ~35-95) (age ~25-60) (age ~20-35) (age ~1-35) NV-outrigger /ne-semj/ /ne-semj/ /ne-semj/ /ne-sem/ [nesemj] w j j 1SG-chew /ne-sem / /ne-sem / /ne-sem / /ne-sem/ [nesemj] 3SG-flap wings /i-ɁambjɁambj/ /i-ɁambwɁambw//i-ɁambwɁambw/ /i-ʔamb-ʔamb/ [iɁambwɁambw] 3SG-swollen /i-Ɂambw/ /i-Ɂambw/ /i-Ɂambw/ /i-ʔamb/ [iɁambw] 3SG-short /i-mbjuɁmbjuɁ//i-mbjuɁmbjuɁ/ /i-mbwuɁmbwuɁ/ /i-mbuʔmbuʔ/ [imbwuɁmbwuɁ] grass /mwenej/ /mwenej/ /mjenej/ /menej/ [mjenej] j j j 3SG-wet /i-m il/ /i-m il/ /i-m il/ /i-mil/ [imjil] 3SG-too short /i-mwil/ /i-mwil/ /i-mwil/ /i-mil/ [imjil] m j m j m j 3SG-step /i- b ut/ /i- b ut/ /i- b ut/ /i-mbut/ [imbwut] 3SG-stop crying /i-mbwut/ /i-mbwut/ /i-mbwut/ /i-mbut/ [imbwut] The “Second change” in Table 14 sees the labial distinction neutralised in the direction of bilabial consonants adjacent to front vowels and labiovelar consonants adjacent to non-front vowels in most context, but still retaining some minimal pair distinctions.

CV, maximising the onset position. 1). For non-borrowed words, Nahavaq syllables have the form (C)V(C) as demonstrated in Table 17. 27 This could be taken as support for an analysis of intervocalic prenasalised stops as two phonemes. However, other speakers do not divide in this same manner. les] ‘REL-3PL-see’. Vowels never occur in sequence. 3). 1. Coda restrictions Labial plosives /pj/ and /pw/ are not distinguished from their corresponding fricatives /βj/ and /βw/ in coda position. 28 Some speakers always use the voiceless stop variant.

660], so I speculate that for him the underlying form has a prenasalised stop and that a purely nasal variant is a possible realisation word-finally. 21 and ‘bamboo’ (/na-mbwu/ ‘NV-bamboo’) with where modern Nahavaq could have a trill. ). In the published version of Deacon’s (1934) notes, several trill-able stops are transcribed as : (/mbjujaʔ/ ‘water taro’), (/ni-mbjuto-n/ ‘NI-navel-3SG)), (/naʔaj limbwu/ ‘croton’), but there is no sign of a trill in /na-ʔambj/ ‘fire’.

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