|Region||Far North Province|
|Labial||Alveolar||Lateral alveolar||Palatal||Velar||Labialized velar||Labial-velar|
|Voiced affricate||dz ⁿdz|
Buwal has the vowels /ə a/, which can occur in high, middle, or low tone. Each vowel has a variety of phonetic realizations. /ə/ can occur as [i u ɪ ʏ ʊ], and /a/ can occur as [e o ɛ œ ɐ ɔ]. The schwa can be analyzed as a solely epenthetic vowel. They occur as rounded allophones when adjacent to a labialized consonant, and as front vowels when the word is palatalized.
Palatalization in Buwal occurs across an entire word, and also affects the affricate consonants /ts dz ⁿdz/, which surface as [tʃ dʒ ⁿdʒ] in a palatalized word. As a result, all of the vowels within a single word are either front or back, producing vowel harmony. An example of this contrast is between [mɐ̄ⁿdʊ́wɐ́n] 'rat' (underlyingly /māⁿdwán/), which is non-palatalized, and [mɛ̀vɛ̄ɗvɛ̄ɗɛ̄ŋ] (underlyingly /màvāɗvāɗāŋ/) 'turtle', which is palatalized. This process does not affect loanwords, e.g. [nɛ̀bɐ̄m] 'oil' (from Fulfulde nebbam) or [lɛ̀kʷól] 'school' (from French l'école). Some loanwords have been modified to accommodate Buwal phonology, e.g. [sɐ́j] 'tea', from Fulfulde sha'i.
- Buwal at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Buwal". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Melanie Helen Viljoen, A grammatical description of the Buwal language, La Trobe University, 2013, 739 p. (thesis)
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