There are three phonemic vowels, with three main allophones for each. The vowels are distinguished by closeness and frontness.

front central back
close i (ɨ) (ʉ) u
mid (ə)
open a

There are three phonemic vowels: two close vowels and one open. These are given in the above chart, with the variant allophones in (round brackets). The central and mid vowels are considered the lax variants, while the lengthened vowels are long.


The front close vowel is unrounded. It is realised as /i/ or /ɨ/.

mici peace

dibada life

lu’i love


The open vowel is unrounded. It can be realised as /a/ or /ə/.

kanama to play

naru slowly

’i’uja table


The back close vowel is rounded. It can be realised as /u/ or /ʉ/.

mulu blood

bunali rhyme

riccu sphere