Phonetics and phonology

Segmental phonetics and phonemes

The consonant phonemes of Yawarana are shown in ref, vowel phonemes in ref.

Consonant phonemes

bilabial alveolar palatal velar glottal
occlusive /p/ /t/ /t͡ʃ/ /k/
nasal /m/ /n/ /ɲ/
fricative /s/ /h/
liquid /r/
glide /w/ /j/

Vowel phonemes

front central back
close /i/ /ɨ/ /u/
mid /e/ /ə/ /o/
open /a/


to do: search and add minimal pairs for consonants


  • glottal fricative insertion after diphthongs
  • glottal fricative insertion before occlusives
    • a Venezuelan trait?


to do: search and add minimal pairs for vowels, add vowel plots

  • what about vowel length?
  • variation between ë/o/e and ï/i/u
  • dipththongs
    • /ai/, /aw/, /ei/... test combinations to do: spelling? au or aw? ai or ay?

Morphophonological Processes

Syllable Reduction


  • V1rV2 to V1ː
  • nasal assimilation
  • reduction to /j/ to do: what consonants reduce to /j/?


  • postpositions
  • verbal suffixes
  • non-alternating reduced syllables, e.g. wajto ‘fire’
  • comparative note: no final nominal reduction

Vowel harmony

  • progressive: -rupert
  • regressive: /ë/ > /o/ (e.g. o-2’)



Lexical stress

Intonational Phrases

to do: f0 increase associated w/ pitch reset, clause boundaries?

Intonational Melodies

Historical Considerations