The Wari’ language (also Orowari, Wari, Pacaá Novo, Pacaás Novos, Pakaa Nova, Pakaásnovos) is the sole remaining vibrant language of the Chapacuran language family of the Brazilian–Bolivian border region of the Amazon. It has about 1300–1800 speakers, also called Wari’.
Wari’ has two phonetic oddities: its "skewed" vowel inventory, and the voiceless bilabially post-trilled dental stop [t͡ʙ̥], which is only reported from four other languages, and is only phonemic in Wari' and two neighbouring languages.
Wari’ syllables range in complexity from CV to CVVC. The only exceptions appear to be final consonant clusters involving a glottal stop (see below).
Wari’ has words ending in the consonant clusters /mʔ/ and /nʔ/. These have been analysed as single sounds, but apparently only to avoid complicating the Wari’ syllable structure.
Wari’ has one of the world's most asymmetrical vowel systems. Vowels are generally expected to be somewhat evenly distributed in vowel space, not bunched into a corner. Additionally, vowels are expected to be unrounded when front and rounded when back until "gaps" in the vowel system have been filled. Although Wari’ has only six vowels, four of these are close/close-mid front vowels, of which two are rounded (although /ø/ is uncommon). Non-native speakers have marked difficulty in distinguishing these front vowels, that contrast with only a single back vowel /o/.
- Daniel Everett and B. Kern (1996). Wari’: The Pacaas Novos language of western Brazil. London: Routledge.
- Peter Ladefoged and Daniel Everett (1996). The status of phonetic rarities. Language, 72 (4), 794-800.
- Margaret MacEachern, Barbara Kern, Peter Ladefoged (1996). "Wari’ phonetic structures". In UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 93: Fieldwork Studies of Targeted Languages IV.