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 /ʉˈʔib.ə/ oib ball

qapi /ˈŋa.ɨ/ qP rope

kuppu /ˈkʰup.pʉ/ >;o be strong

bufi buf.ɨ/ OF pebble

huba /ˈhub.ə/ Vb to live

kibba /ˈkʰibʱ.bʱə/ K;b stick

Alveolars

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

turassi /ʉˈɽas.sɨ/ er;S redhead

fi’atu /fɨ.ʔa.ʉ/ Fae certain

matta /ˈmat.tə/m;t again

daru daɽ.ʉ/ dw road

xidu /ˈɕid.ʉ/ XE far away

kuddu /ˈkudʱ.dʱʉ/ >;E rain

Palatal

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

cissa is.sə/ C;s air

xuci /ˈɕu.ɨ/ ZC feather

nacca /ˈnac.cə/ n;c clothing

jagaru /ɟəˈgaɽ.ʉ/ jgw sand

sajimu /səˈɟim.ʉ/ sJU crack

majja /ˈmaɟʱ.ɟʱə/ m;j here

Velars

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

ka’u aʔ.ʉ/ ku jump

’isaki /ʔɨ.sa.ɨ/ isK company

nukki /ˈnuk.kɨ/ I;K strawberry

gurrisu gur.rɨ.sʉ/ <;Rz door

danagi /də.nag.ɨ/ dnG decree

saggi /ˈsagʱ.gʱɨ/ 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 ʔan.ʉ/ aI to balance

kuli’a /kʰʉˈliʔ.ə/ >La friend

nasiʔu /naˈsiʔ.jʉ/ 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 man.ə/ mn bubble

salumi /səˈlum.ɨ/ sWM seven

girammi /gɨˈɽam.mɨ/ Gr;M thunder

Alveolar

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

nu /nuː/ I to stop

lulani /lʉˈlan.ɨ/ WlN queen

sinna /ˈsiɲ.ɲə/ S;n story

Velar

The nasal /ŋ/ is velar.

quliru /ŋʉˈliɽ.ʉ/ ALw family

kunaqi /kʰʉˈnaŋ.ɨ/ >nQ earth

laqqu /ˈlaŋ.ŋʉ/ 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 las.sɨ/ l;S baby

kulu /ˈkʰul.ʉ/ >W fork

malliju /ˈmaʎ.ʎɨ.ɟʉ/ m;LY happiness

ru’iha /ɽʉˈʔih.ə/ wih history

karafi /kʰəˈɽaf.ɨ/ krF enlightenment

qarri /ˈŋar.rɨ/ 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 faɕ.ɨ/ fX to survive

bufiqi /bʉˈfiŋ.ɨ/ OFQ illness

’iffa /ˈʔif.fə/ i;f it

Alveolar

The fricative /s/ is apical.

sikka sik.kə/ S;k skin

husabi /huˈsab.ɨ/ VsB finger

’alissa /ʔəˈlis.sə/ aL;s requirement

Palatal

The palatal fricative /ɕ/ is laminal.

xaha ɕah.ə/ xh name

puxila /pʰʉˈɕil.ə/ oXl message

dixxa /ˈdiɕ.ɕə/ D;x drink

Glottal

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

hannaku haɲ.ɲə.kʉ/ h;n> cat

tihu /ˈtʰih.ʉ/ TV to dwell

quhha /ˈŋuç.çə/ A;h river