Chakali contrasts long and short vowels, as well as advanced and retracted tongue root vowels, which play a role in vowel harmony. While typically treated as a "neutral" vowel for tongue root harmony, /a/ might surface as [ɑ] following -ATR vowels, but this is not phonemic. Additionally, [ə] arises during epenthesis or vowel reduction.
All phonemic vowels can also appear nasalized, which is often due to the influence of a neighboring nasal consonant or glottal fricative. Nasal vowels do occur phonemically in certain words, as demonstrated by near-minimal or minimal pairs:
- /zʊ̀ʊ̀/ 'enter', /zʊ̃̀ʊ̃̀/ 'laziness'
- /fáà/ 'ancient', /fã̀ã̀/ 'do by force'
- /tùù/ 'go down', /tṹṹ/ 'honey'
|Stop||p b||t d||t͡ʃ d͡ʒ||k ɡ||k͡p ɡ͡b||ʔ|
|Fricative||f v||s z||h|
- /t/ surfaces as [r] in word-final or word-medial onset position.
- /k/ and /g/ usually surface as [ɣ] between vowels.
- All nasals are realized as [ŋ] in word-final position.
Chakali is a subject–verb–object language.
- Chakali at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Chakali". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Brindle, Jonathan. 2017. A dictionary and grammatical outline of Chakali. Berlin: Language Science Press. ISBN 978-3-944675-91-6 DOI 10.5281/zenodo.344813. Open Access
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