Contour segments in neverver: Synchronic justifications
Barbour, J. (2011). Contour segments in neverver: Synchronic justifications. Te Reo: Journal of the Linguistic Society of New Zealand, 54, 3-44.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/6238
The Neverver language of Vanuatu has been analysed as containing six prenasalised phonemes. Prenasalised phonemes can be described as contour segments, beginning their articulation with nasal airflow [+nasal], and ending their articulation with oral airflow [-nasal]. Syllabification in Neverver provides important evidence of the status of prenasalised phonemes as complex but unitary segments. In this paper, I examine the behaviour of prenasalised phonemes, showing how prenasalised segments behave in the same way as simple segments, and how they contrast clearly with heterogeneous and geminate consonant sequences through syllabification processes that shape the surface forms of inflected verbs. My analysis aligns with native-speaker intuitions about the psychological reality of complex segments in Neverver, and provides evidence against a recent claim that a universal No Contour Principle operates in language.
Linguistic Society of New Zealand