A grammar of Wambaya: Northern Territory (Australia) by Rachel Nordlinger

By Rachel Nordlinger

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Additional info for A grammar of Wambaya: Northern Territory (Australia)

Sample text

It is possible that such allophonic variation is idiolectal. The two velar consonants /g/ and /ng/ both have fronted, palatalised allophones [gi] and [ngi] before a front vowel, especially in word-initial position. 4 5 Another interesting aspect of the apical contrast is that speakers are less likely to correct me with regani to these sounds than they are with regard to other contrasts in the language. Thus, unless the distinction is crucial in distinguishing one word from another, I have found that speakers will tend to accept my pronunciation of a word regardless of whether I have a retroflex or an apico-alveolar consonant.

Other vowel-semivowel-vowel sequences can sometimes be heard as diphthongs (when the second part of the sequence does not bear stress): /ayigurru/ `afternoon' > fatguru] /barrawu/ `house' > ['bar>aû] /mimayi/ `son-in-law' > ['mtmat] However, it is usually possible to demonstrate that these sequences are disyllabic and phonemically contain a semivowel. With /barrawu/ and /mimayi/ this becomes clear once morphological processes cause the second part of the phonetic diphthong to bear stress: /mimayirna/ `mother-in-law' > rmtma' ,juia] /barrawu+ni/ `house + LOC' > rbar>a ,wûni] With /ayigurru/ this is shown by the fact that the stress patterns for the word behave as if it were four syllables, rather than three (which would be the case were there an initial diphthong).

2-8) Manganyma nyi-ng jiya-j-ba! A- t 0 give-TH-FUT Give me (some) tucker! The full set of final consonants allowed in the auxiliary is: /rr/, /rU, /n/, /ny/, /ng/. Final consonants are not allowed elsewhere in the language and will not be considered in the rest of this discussion of word and syllable structure. 1 SYLLABLE STRUCTURE The following syllable types are found in Wambaya. Types (i) and (ii) can occur only word-initially and types (iv) and (v) do not occur word-finally. Type (iii) is the most common syllable type and the only one that is unrestricted in its occurrence.

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