On the Distribution of Consonants and Vowels in Dissyllabic Base Words in Contemporary Hawaiian
Nina Pilszczikowa-Chodak
December 2018

Analysis of 1595 dissyllabic Hawaiian base words revealed that they could be divided into three groups: one with initial voiceless obstruents, one with initial voiced sonorants and one with words without an initial consonant. In all three groups the arrangements of vowels and diphthongs showed the same nine word-patterns within the disyllabic base words of Hawaiian. These patterns are presented in Table 1. At the left edge of this table going down are letters: /‘,h,k,p,l.m.n.w/, and 0-zero/ marking the initial consonants or their absence in words of these three groups. Each of these lines contains words with this initial consonant or C1 = O1. These lines: 4 lines of words with initial voiceless /‘,h,k,p/, then four lines of words with initial voiced sonorants: /l,m,n,w/ then, below, one line of words without an initial consonant: C1 = O1. At the top of this Table 1 there are written the nine word-patterns of Hawaiian. They are the foundation of this research. In this table short vowels of Pattern N 1 - 9 are marked by small letter v, long vowels are marked by capital letter V, while diphthongs are marked by VV. Patterns: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 v-v V-V VV-VV V-VV v-VV VV-v VV-V v-V V-v C 1 k: 110 53 7 50 14 19 9 15 4 There are only 36 words with diphthongs in both syllables. This allows us to see more clearly the distribution of short and long vowels, and diphthongs after each particular voiceless obstruent and voiced sonorant, and in words without an initial consonant. It immediately shows the prevalence of short vowels: 828, that is Pattern N1 as compared to the other 2 - 9 Patterns. Table 2 shows the presence or absence of a consonant in the second syllable. Table 3 displays the words with diphthongs and shows the relationship between the first and second syllables. It also separates the diphthong /iu/ from other diphthongs. The diphthong /iu/ was found only in words with initial voiceless consonants. There are no cases of diphthong /iu/ appearing after initial sonorants of disyllabic base words. The Hawaiian sound system, which has only 8 consonants, contains a very intricate and complex distribution system of short, long vowels and diphthongs after the initial consonant (C1or O1), and within the first and second syllable of disyllabic base words. It also revealed the crucial interdependence of consonants and vowels, short, long and diphthongs, within the Hawaiian sound system.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004319
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: distribution, voiced, voiceless, consonants, grave, sonorants, obstruents, long vowels, short vowels, open-syllable language, word-patterns, diphthongs, phonology
previous versions: v2 [December 2018]
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