Xavante Language - Phonology - Consonants - Allophony


With so few phonemic contrasts, Xavante allows wide latitude in allophones of its consonants.

  • P and T: /p/, /t/ are aspirated, as syllable onsets (at the beginning of a word, between vowels, or before /r/), and unreleased, as syllable codas (at the end of a word or before a consonant other than /r/).
  • C: /c/ freely varies among as an onset, and as a coda (only preceding another /c/, as ).
  • : /ʔ/ is a glottal stop .
  • B: In a C or CC syllable onset before an oral vowel, /b/ is pronounced as a plain voiced stop at the beginning of a phonological word, and as either or as a prenasalized voiced stop .
As a syllable coda, /b/ is pronounced before /h/ regardless of the following vowel's nasality, and optionally also as before the oral allophones of the other voiced obstruents, /d/ and /j/: or . It is before .
  • D: In a syllable onset before an oral vowel, /d/ is pronounced either as a plain voiced stop or as prenasalized voiced stop . Unlike /b/, it may be prenasalized at the beginning of a phonological word, not just as a syllable onset. Before a nasal vowel, it is pronounced .
As a syllable coda, /d/ is pronounced before the oral allophone of a consonant, and as before a nasal consonant.
  • J: In a syllable onset before an oral vowel, /j/ is pronounced, in free variation. Before a nasal vowel, it is pronounced .
As a syllable coda, /j/ is generally pronounced, and is nasalized to or after a nasal vowel. It is also nasalized to before a prenasalized stop allophone. Between oral vowels, the sequence /jb/ optionally takes an epenthetic : or . When is followed by an /h/, a nasalized epenthetic schwa separates them.
  • R: /r/ is an alveolar flap, which is nasalized between nasal vowels.
  • W: /w/ is similar to English w, but not rounded before the vowel /i/.
  • H: /h/ has no place of articulation, but is a voiceless transition between vowels.

Vowels do not become nasalized because of nasalized consonants, so the only consonants that become nasal are those in a cluster preceding a nasal vowel (and coda /j/ after a nasal vowel); a preceding oral vowel blocks the nasality from spreading to preceding syllables.

Read more about this topic:  Xavante Language, Phonology, Consonants

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