By Valérie Guérin
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Extra info for A Grammar of Mavea: An Oceanic Langugage of Vanuatu
The top row gives the second vowel. The numbers indicate the number of instances in which the combination was found in a subset of the data. As the table shows, there cannot be two consecutive identical vowels in monomorphemic forms. 14. 14 Underlying representation of three consecutive vowels aio ioa aoa aia 1 2 1 2 iai 1 aiu 1 iao 1 There are few instances of three consecutive vowels found morpheme internally. 3 Vowel combinations across morphemes There can be up to five consecutive underlying vowels across morpheme boundaries.
Although the vowel [o] is used predominantly in the corpus before [nt], speakers’ variation in the choice of the vowel preceding this consonant sequence could suggest that the addition of an initial vowel to the stem of words starting with [nt] (and possibly [nd]) is a relatively recent phenomenon. 11) reveals that only a handful of words start with complex onsets (although consonant combinations are possible across syllable boundaries). 2 Vowels Ma˝vea shows reflexes of the five phonemic vowels of POc listed in Lynch et al.
One of the main consultants, EVK, used linguo-labials on a fairly regular basis. She was in her sixties 15 2 Phonology when the data were gathered. Some speakers who were older than EVK and just as proficient in the language, never used linguo-labials. On the other hand, another consultant, in his fifties, was found to use linguo-labials only while narrating the traditional legend Tavua rar Sio ‘Conch and Kingfisher’ and nowhere else. 4 Linguo-labials and language death The loss of phonological distinction can be interpreted as a sign of language obsolescence (Campbell and Muntzel 1989:186), given that linguistic changes prompted by language obsolescence tend in general towards simplification (Seliger and Vago 1991:6).
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