Nahavaq (sout2857-1)

Dimock, Laura Gail. A grammar of Nahavaq (Malakula, Vanuatu). 2009. hh:g:Dimock:Nahavaq

Consonants (22)

ⁿbʲ ⁿbʷ t ⁿd k ⁿg ʔ
βʲ βʷ s
n ŋ
j w h

Vowels (5)

i u
e o


The prenasalized retroflex stop with trilled release has merged with /ⁿd/ for all but the oldest speakers.

The contrast between "bilabial and labiovelar" consonants exists before all vowels but /o/.

"Only in initial and final position (adjacent to silence) are glottal stops regularly realised with a complete glottal closure ... However creaky voice is also possible in these positions". These rules are difficult to code in the current system:

Vʔ > V̰ / _C

ʔV > V̰V / C_ - if C is a sonorant, it can also be creaky

V > ʔV / #_

Labial fricatives and stops don't contrast in coda position.

"If a vowel occurs between two front consonants [palatalized labials or alveolars other than /r/] it is more fronted than if it occurs between two back consonants [labiovelars other than /w/, velars, or glottals]. ... Strangely, the /i/ vowel appears to be more advanced when adjacent to back consonants than front consonants."

In the native lexicon, nonhigh vowels can't occur in immediate word-final position. (If final /i u/ are analyzed as /ij uw/, this could be interpreted as a restriction against open syllables.)

Allophonic rules