Consonants

Consonants are differentiated by manner and place of articulation, and by word-internal gemination. Plosives also have contrasting voice.

labial alveolar retroflex palatal velar glottal
stop p b t d c ɟ <j> k g ʔ <’>
nasal m n ŋ <q>
lateral l
tap ɽ <r>
fricative f s ɕ <x> h

stops:

labial: p

alveolar: t

palatal: c

velar: k

glottal: ʔ <’>

voiced:

labial: b

alveolar: d

palatal: ɟ <j>

velar: g

nasals:

labial: m

alveolar: n

velar: ŋ <q>

liquids:

alveolar lateral: l

retroflex tap: ɽ <r>

fricatives:

labial: f

alveolar: s

palatal: ɕ <x>

glottal: h

This table shows the consonants phonemically, using the International Phonetic Alphabet. Where it differs from IPA, the transliteration is given in <triangular brackets>.

Capital or geminate glottal stops are transliterated with <ʔ>. Examples:

ba’u — usual word-internal glottal stop

nasiʔu — geminate word-internal glottal stop

’usu — usual glottal stop within sentence

ʔusu — capitalised glottal stop at beginning of sentence

ʔallisi — capitalised glottal stop for proper noun (Alice)

Stops

Stops are differentiated by voicing, although voiced consonants tend to be rarer than their voiceless counterparts.

The voiced stops are fully voiced word-internally and partially voiced word-initially. Voiced geminate stops are given breathy voice. Voiceless stops are lightly aspirated, which is suppressed in voiceless geminate stops.

Geminate stops are held for approximately twice as long as non-geminate stops.

Labials

The plosives /p/ and /b/ are bilabial.

pu’iba /ʉˈʔibə/ oib ball

qapi /ˈŋaɨ/ qP rope

kuppu /ˈkʰuʉ/ >;o be strong

bufi bufɨ/ OF pebble

huba /ˈhubə/ Vb to live

kibba /ˈkʰibʱːə/ K;b stick

Alveolars

The plosives /t/ and /d/ are apical.

turassi /ʉˈɽasːɨ/ er;S redhead

-fi’atu /fɨʔaʉ/ Fae certain

matta /ˈmaə/m;t again

daru daɽʉ/ dw road

xidu /ˈɕidʉ/ XE far away

kuddu /ˈkudʱːʉ/ >;E rain

Palatal

The plosives /c/ and /ɟ/ are laminal. In fast speech, they can approach the affricates /tʃ/ and /dʒ/.

cissa isːə/ C;s air

xuci /ˈɕuɨ/ ZC feather

nacca /ˈnaə/ n;c clothing

jagaru /ɟəˈgaɽʉ/ jgw sand

sajimu /səˈɟimʉ/ sJU crack

majja /ˈmaɟʱːə/ m;j here

Velars

The velar plosives are /k/ and /g/.

ka’u aʔʉ/ ku jump

’isaki /ʔɨsaɨ/ isK company

nukki /ˈnuɨ/ I;K strawberry

gurrisu gurːɨsʉ/ <;Rz door

danagi /dənagɨ/ dnG decree

saggi /ˈsagʱːɨ/ s;G iron pyrites

Glottal

The glottal stop /ʔ/ is one of the most common sounds. Non-geminate glottal stops are often suppressed between unstressed vowels. The second of a geminate glottal stop becomes a palatal approximant /j/.

’anu ʔanʉ/ aI to balance

kuli’a /kʰʉˈliʔə/ >La friend

nasiʔu /naˈsiʔjʉ/ nS;u sheep

Nasals

There are nasal consonants at each of the places of articulation of the plosives. However, the palatal nasal is only found when geminating the alveolar nasal. Nasals are prototypically voiced. Geminate nasals are held for 1 ½ times as long as non-geminates.

Labial

The labial nasal /m/ is bilabial.

mana manə/ mn bubble

salumi /səˈlumɨ/ sWM seven

girammi /gɨˈɽaɨ/ Gr;M thunder

Alveolar

The alveolar nasal /n/ is apical. When geminated, this sound is palatal and laminal.

nu /nuː/ I to stop

lulani /lʉˈlanɨ/ WlN queen

sinna /ˈsiɲːə/ S;n story

Velar

The nasal /ŋ/ is velar.

quliru /ŋʉˈliɽʉ/ ALw family

kunaqi /kʰʉˈnaŋɨ/ >nQ earth

laqqu /ˈlaŋːʉ/ l;A wealth

Liquids

The liquids are mainly differentiated by laterality. This language lacks phonemic glides. Like nasals, approximants are prototypically voiced, and geminates are held for 1 ½ times as long as non-geminates.

The consonant /l/ is lateral and apical. When geminated, this sound is laminal and palatal.

The consonant /ɾ/ is central, retroflex and sub-apical. When geminated, this sound becomes a trill.

lassi lasːɨ/ l;S baby

kulu /ˈkʰulʉ/ >W fork

malliju /ˈmaʎːɨɟʉ/ m;LY happiness

ru’iha /ɽʉˈʔihə/ wih history

karafi /kʰəˈɽafɨ/ krF enlightenment

qarri /ˈŋaɨ/ q;R to open

Fricatives

Fricatives do not have complete closure of the vocal tract, but are formed with enough constriction to bring turbulence to the airstream.

Fricatives are prototypically voiceless. The lips remain unrounded for all fricatives unless followed or preceded by a rounded vowel. Geminate fricatives are held for 1 ½ times as long as non-geminates.

Labial

The fricative /f/ is realised as labiodental.

faxi faɕɨ/ fX to survive

bufiqi /bʉˈfiŋɨ/ OFQ illness

’iffa /ˈʔiə/ i;f it

Alveolar

The fricative /s/ is apical.

sikka sikːə/ S;k skin

husabi /huˈsabɨ/ VsB finger

’alissa /ʔəˈliə/ aL;s requirement

Palatal

The palatal fricative /ɕ/ is laminal.

xaha ɕahə/ xh name

puxila /pʰʉˈɕilə/ oXl message

dixxa /ˈdiɕːə/ D;x drink

Glottal

The fricative /h/ is a voiceless sound. When geminate, it is pronounced as a palatal fricative.

hannaku haɲːəkʉ/ h;n> cat

tihu /ˈtʰihʉ/ TV to dwell

quhha /ˈŋuçːə/ A;h river