Avava language

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Avava
Katbol
Native to Vanuatu
Region Central Malekula
Native speakers
700 (2001)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 tmb
Glottolog katb1237[2]

Avava, also known as Katbol or Tembimbe-Katbol, is an Oceanic language of central Malekula, Vanuatu. It has nasalized fricatives and a bilabial trill.

The four Avava-speaking villages speak, or spoke, distinct dialects. Timbembe and Nevaar (Nɨviar) are still spoken. The Nivat (Nevat) and Bangasa (Umbrul) dialects are extinct. Bangasa/Bangsa', or more correctly Bangasak, was known as Numbuwul by its neighbors to the north; the endonym is Umbbuul [(u)ᵐʙuːl].

Phonology[edit]

When the final syllable is light (CV), stress tends to be penultimate. When the final syllable is heavy (CVC, CVV, CVː), stress tends to be final.

Vowels[edit]

Avava has five vowel qualities, /a e i o u/. /u/ is pronounced [ʉ] between a bilabial trill and an alveolar and, in final syllables, between a bilabial trill and /k/. About 2% of vowels are long. Long /eː/ is not attested, and long /oː/ is marginal. This is a pattern shared with Naman. At the end of a prosodic unit – in citation form, utterance-finally and when speaking slowly – word-final vowels other than /i/ tend to be replaced with "diphthongs" /Vi/. Word-initial vowels present in citation form tend to be lost when the word is linked to others, e.g. when the subject of a verb or possessed by a pronoun. This is the reason for the alternative form of the name of the language, vava.

Consonants[edit]

Avava consonant inventory
Labial Labialized Coronal Dorsal Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Prenasalized stop ᵐb ᵐbʷ ⁿd ᵑɡ
Voiceless stop p (pʷ) t k
Fricative v [ɣ] h
Prenasalized trill ᵐbʙ⁽ʷ⁾ ⁿdʳ
Tap ɾ
Approximant w l j

/s/ is post-alveolar. The voiceless stops are lightly aspirated. Otherwise the consonants have the values their IPA transcriptions suggest.

/h/ does not occur at the beginning of a word. Labialized consonants are only found before /a e i/. There are some grammatical contexts and perhaps random situations when word-initial /k/ and /t/ are replaced by /ɡ/ and /d/. /pʷ/ is known from only a single word. Word-final /k/ is lost when the word is suffixed or followed by a modifier.

The prenasalized trills may be described as /mʙ, nr/, with the quite audible stop analyzed as excrescent, or as /bʙ, dr/, with the representation common in the area of prenasalized voiced stops as simply voiced stops. /ᵐbʙ/ is quite common in the language. It is generally rounded, [mbʙʷ], and word-finally the trilled release is at least partially devoiced, [mbʙ̥ʷ]. It may occur in word-final position after any vowel, but in CV position the following vowel is overwhelmingly /u/, though other vowels do occur, e.g. /suᵐbʙʷat/ 'coral'. It is generated grammatically when the 3sg-irrealis /b⁽ʷ⁾V/ is prefixed to a verb root beginning with /v, vʷ, v/, as in /bʷe-vʷel/ > /ᵐbʙʷel/ 's/he will come'.

Consonant allophones[edit]

Prenasalization is maintained after oral consonants, e.g. [ⁿdirⁿdir] 'earthquake', but is lost after a nasal, e.g. [luᵑɡamɡem] 'bamboo roof pins'. Prenasalized stops are occasionally devoiced word finally, e.g. [aⁿdʳaᵐb ~ aⁿdʳaᵐp] 'mud'.

/p/ occasionally has a trilled release when followed by /ur/: [pʰura ~ pʙ̥ura] 'spit'.

Nasals and liquids are syllabified in word-final CN, CL clusters and in medial CNC, CLC clusters: [ᵑɡitn̩tl̩] 'we (paucal inclusive)', [kopm̩tl̩] 'we (paucal exclusive)'.

/k/ is [k] word-initially, word-finally, before another consonant, and between front vowels; it is also the more common allophone between front and non-front vowels. It is [ɣ] between identical non-front vowels, and this is the more common allophone between non-identical non-front vowels.

/v, vʷ/ are generally [f, fʷ] word-initially.

References[edit]

  • Terry Crowley, 2006, The Avava language of central Malakula (Vanuatu)
  1. ^ Avava at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Katbol". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 

External links[edit]