The system of underlying Cemaun consonants is presented in table (1).
k, kʷ g, gʷ
c [ʧ] j [ʤ]
approximants: lateral tap
Although the glides w and y are frequent phonetically, their consonantal status is predictable from syllable position:
glides appear in onsets, and the high vowels u and i appear elsewhere.
Both l and r are present in all Arapesh varieties, and in key lexical items they
index social features such as region and age. However, no distinction in meaning
hinges on their contrast. In Woginara, Balam, and Dogur palato-alveolar c is
pronounced ʃ, and the distribution of l is wider than r.
The underlying Cemaun vowel system is presented in table (2).
The rising diphthongs ai, ae, au, ou, oi, and ei also occur.
There are a number of rules affecting the realiziation of the central vowels ә and ɨ.
Most of these involve assimilation in rounding or backness to the surrounding
/n-ә-iagureh/ → [neyagureh]
/kʷ-ɨ-hirau/ → [kuhirau]
/ouicibər]/ → [owicibør]
Word-final labialization is retracted into a preceding central vowel, making the
final consonant's labial release less audible in such contexts (4).
/ətɨ-hʷ/ → [ətuh]
Assuming that labialization inheres in preceding consonants and is not a separate
segment, consonant clusters do not arise in Cemaun. In contrast, vowel-vowel and
vowel-diphthong sequences are common and are variously resolved (5).
/h-ә-sia-әc/→ [həsiyaec] (seb2:24)
/i-ɨ-burei-əɲ/→ [ibureiyeɲ] (seb2:46)
Intervocalic voiced obstruents assimilate to a preceding nasal, creating surface
presnasalized obstruents (6). This process applies especially in highly frequent
forms and in functional items like demonstratives. Again this process is exhibited
along a continuum across the family. In inland Arapesh varieties such as Wәri and
Muhiang (as spoken at Balif), virtually all non-initial voiced obstruents are
/әCɨdək + cl7sg/ → [ənɨndək] 'this.near.speaker'
/nɨbarig/ → [nɨmbarig] 'garden'
/nogotep/ → [noŋgotep] 'knife'
but [maduh], *[manduh] 'vine'
Primary word stress tends to fall on either the first or second syllable. Verbs must
be specified for whether they take stress on the root or on the preceding vowel,
and for whether or not stress advances with the addition of object or other
suffixes. For example, S-cәpok(-O) 'send' takes immobile stress on the mood
vowel (7a), S-hʷanɨk(-O) 'kill' takes immobile stress on the first root syllable
(7b), and S-rau(-O) 'bring' takes mobile stress alternatively on the mood or root
a. [nécəpokok], [nécəpoki], [kʷécəpokən]
b. [nohʷánɨk], [nohʷánɨkət]
c. [írau Koni] vs. [iráuən], [hɨ́rau batowic] vs. [hɨráuec]
Click on the selections below to hear some examples of Cemaun sounds.