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

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


front: i

central: (ɨ) (ʉ)

back: u


central: (ə)


front: 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.


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

mici /ˈmic.ɨ/ MC peace

salilu /səˈlil.ʉ/ sLW night sky

dibada /dɨˈbad.ə/ Dbd life


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

kanama /kʰəˈnam.ə/ knm to play

naru /ˈnaɽ.ʉ/ nw slowly

’i’uja /ʔɨ.ʔuɟ.ə/ iuj table


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

mulu /ˈmul.ʉ/ UW blood

hulla /ˈhuʎ.ʎə/ V;l to have sex

riccu /ˈɽic.cʉ/R;y sphere