Vowels

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

close:

front: i

central: (ɨ) (ʉ)

back: u

mid:

central: (ə)

open:

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.

Front

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

mici /ˈmic.ɨ/ MC peace

salilu /sə.ˈlil.ʉ/ sLW night sky

dibada /dɨ.ˈbad.ə/ Dbd life

Open

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

kanama /kʰə.ˈnam.ə/ knm to play

naru /ˈnaɽ.ʉ/ nw slowly

’i’uja /ʔɨ.ʔuɟ.ə/ iuj table

Back

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