By Olcher Sebastian Fedden.
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Extra info for A grammar of Mian, a Papuan language of New Guinea
6 /aˤ/ is a pharyngealized a. See section 4 on pharyngealization. 7 The phonemic status of vowels sequences beginning with a pharyngealized a are yet unclear and therefore not included in the inventory. 37 In the orthography phonetic pitch will be indicated by accents as in phonetic representations. Any tone-bearing unit which is unmarked in the orthography has low pitch. By convention, tones over diphthongs are written over the first member of the diphthong. Throughout this chapter, words given orthographically will be in italics, phonemic representations will be marked by slashes and phonetic representations by square brackets.
As none of the others did that, I will not consider the pharyngealization to be phonemic in this case, but to be a feature of this speaker’s idiolect. e. I did not collect enough tokens of the same word for comparison and perhaps a statistical measure of pharyngealization. However, this situation might also be because the pharyngealization contrast is slowly eroding in the Mian language. I can only speculate here but it seems conceivable that finally it might give way to a new (extra low) phonemic tone that would then have the function of distinguishing [ɱal] ‘feces’ from [ɲal] ‘skin’.
N/ ‘string bag’ (full stop indicates syllable boundary). Long diphthongs and vowels are thus analyzed as comprising two syllable nuclei, each of which is a tonebearing unit. ít/ (1974a: 15) and not the expected /kwɛit/ (the superscript ‘i’ is their convention for a non-lengthened diphthong which takes only one tone), though the length difference is even more pronounced in the case of ‘sugar cane’ and ‘penis’ than in the case of ‘child’ and ‘string bag’. Therefore, it seems as if Smith and Weston’s analysis of “lengthened” vowels as two syllable nuclei was not so much prompted by actual length differences but more by their wish to differentiate words with a level tonal melody from words with a non-level tonal melody, cf.
A grammar of Mian, a Papuan language of New Guinea by Olcher Sebastian Fedden.