Iduna language

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(Redirected from ISO 639:viv)
Native toPapua New Guinea
RegionMilne Bay Province (Goodenough Island)
Native speakers
(6,000 cited 1984)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3viv

Iduna is an Austronesian language spoken on Goodenough Island of Milne Bay Province of Papua New Guinea.



The inventory of the Iduna language consists of 14 consonant phonemes.[2]

Labial Dental Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive Voiceless t k ʔ
Voiced b d g
Fricative Voiceless f
Voiced v
Nasal m n
Approximant l j w h

Voiced plosives generally contrast with their unvoiced counterparts, except for the bilabial series, where /b/ varies freely between [b] and [p]. Moreover, the phoneme /g/ is commonly realized as [g], though for some speakers it may be pronounced as a voiced fricative [ɣ] without contrast. Finally, /t/ has also two allophonic realizations: [t] occurs word-initially and word-medially before non-front vowels /a/, /o/ or /u/, whereas [s] only appears before front vowels /i/ or /e/.[3] Other minor allophonic realizations may occur. Among these variations only the last one is reflected in the orthography.

Phoneme Allophones Context
/b/ [b ~ p], [bʷ] free variant; [bʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/f/ [f], [fʷ] Normally [f]; [fʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/k/ [k], [kʷ] Normally [k]; [kʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/g/ [g ~ ɣ], [gʷ] free variant; [gʷ] before non-syllabic /u/
/t/ [t], [s] [s] before /i/ and /e/; [t] elsewhere
/d/ [d], [tʰ] [tʰ] before /i/ in final syllable position only; [d] elsewhere
/m/ [m], [mʷ] Normally [m]; [mʷ] before non-syllabic /u/


There are five vowel phonemes in Iduna.[2]

Front Central Back
High i u
Mid ɛ ɔ
Low a

Vowels have allophones too. The major allophonic variations are described in the following table. These include the double realization of /a/, which corresponds to [a] when found in stressed syllables, while it approximates [ʌ] in unstressed environments, and the nasal allophonic variant of /u/.[4]

Phoneme Allophone Context
/a/ [a], [ʌ] [a] in stressed syllable; [ʌ] elsewhere
/u/ [u], [ũ] [ũ] following /m/; [u] elsewhere

The language also has four monomoraic diphthongs: /ai/, /au/, /ao/ and /oi/. These are distinguished from vowel sequences, which instead are bimoraic, e.g. the word giyauna [gi.jau.nʌ] 'he scrapes it' contrasts with giyauna [gi.ja.u.nʌ] 'he unties it'.[5]


In Iduna consonant clusters are forbidden; therefore, there are only open syllables of type V, CV and CVV. Also, the special kind of sequence CuV is generally interpreted as CʷV.

Writing system[edit]

The Iduna alphabet is shown in the following table:[6]

A a B b D d E e F f G g H h I i L l
[a] [b] [d] [ɛ] [f] [g] [h] [i] [l]
M m O o S s T t U u V v W w Y y ʼ
[m] [ɔ] [s] [t] [u] [v] [w] [j] [ʔ]


  1. ^ Iduna at Ethnologue (25th ed., 2022) Closed access icon
  2. ^ a b Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 3–4.
  3. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 10–13.
  4. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 20–21.
  5. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), pp. 7–8.
  6. ^ Sampson and Huckett (1965), p. 30.


  • Sampson, Nancy; Huckett, Joyce (1965). Vivigani Phonemes (PDF) (draft). Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  • Huckett, Joyce (1974). "Notes on Iduna Grammar" (PDF). In Healey, Alan (ed.). Three studies in languages of eastern Papua. Workpapers in Papua New Guinea Languages 3. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). pp. 63–133. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  • Huckett, Joyce (1976). "Iduna Sentence Structure" (PDF). In Loving, Richard (ed.). Grammatical studies in Suena and Iduna. Workpapers in Papua New Guinea Languages 15. Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). pp. 127–262. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
  • Huckett, Joyce (n.d.). Vivigani language lessons (PDF) (draft). Papua New Guinea: Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). Retrieved February 21, 2019.