Suprasegmental and Transitional Nasal Vowels
In Min Chinese, nasal vowels carry persistent air flow though both the mouth and the nose, producing an invariant and sustainable vowel quality. That is, this type of nasalization is synchronic and suprasegmental to the voicing. In contrast, nasal vowels in French or Portuguese are transitional, where the velum ends up constricting the mouth airway.
In languages that have transitional nasal vowels, it is common that there are fewer nasal vowels than oral ones. This appears to be due to a loss of distinctivity caused by the nasal articulation.
Read more about this topic: Nasal Vowel
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