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Kwara'ae (Fiu)

(Central Malaita Island; Austronesian, Malaita)

Sohn (1980): A consonant metathesizes with a following vowel.
Sohn (1980)

‘bailer, to bail’
‘bail it’ (-a = 3rd pers. obj. suffix)
‘to help’
‘help it’ (-a = 3rd pers. obj. suffix)
‘public area’
‘your pbulic area’ (-um = ‘your’)
‘their name’ (-ad = ‘their’)
‘my cheek’ (-uk = ‘my’)

Pawley (1982) a. When the underlying ‘v1cv2’ is aCi, aCu, aCo, uCi or eCo, and C is not a nasal, it is realized as [v1v2 cv^2] or [v1v2c(v2)], where v^ denotes a partially devoiced vowel, and (v) denotes a completely devoiced vowel (that is to say, the lips form or retain the shape of the preceding vowel but no sound can be heard).

'to shelter'

b. When the underlying sequence ‘v1cv1’ contains identical vowels, it is realized as [v1:cv^1] or [v1:c(v 1)]. That is, the second vowel shows up as additional vowel length before C, as well as appearing after C as a devoiced vowel. Before glottal stop, there is no preconsonantal vowel lengthening.

'lie, tell untruth'
'lie, tell untruth'
'their name'
A consonant which is not preceded by a vowel is never metathesized with the following vowel (Sohn 1980).

person marker
Economy of speech effort (Sohn 1980): Metathesis occurs in Kwara'ae to minimize the number of syllables by converting open to closed syllables, with a minimum loss of phonological features as well as communication.

Gradual sound change (Pawley 1982): The appearance of metathesis having taken place in Kwara'ae is the cumulative effect of two phonological processes, anticipatory vowel copying and vowel reduction.
Related Information:
a. Vowel fusion
/oe/ -> [œ:], /ae/ -> [@:], /ai/ -> [E:]
This occurs before a consonant. b. /a/ raising
/a/ gets raised to schwa in the environment of /u/ or after /i/ if followed by a consonant. It is raised to [E] before /i/. This does not apply to word-final /a/ or to long /a:/.
c. [w] glide formation
/o/, /u/ are realized as the glide [w] when preceded by a syllable or word boundary, or a velar consonant, provided that they are followed by a vowel other than /o/, /u/.
@ = front low vowel ('ash')
A = central mid vowel ('schwa')
E = front mid vowel
? = glottal stop

Last Updated: 6/20/2007
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