The Phonology and Phonetic Manifestations of the Glottal Stop in Pendau

Phil Quick Phil.Quick at
Fri Dec 10 00:07:19 UTC 1999

Dear Waruno (and other interested linguists),

Some comments below...

At 19:06 9/12/99 +0100, you wrote:
>Phil, this is very interesting.
>> **Pendau has final consonants (unlike most Sulawesi languages) which
>> includes most of its consonants, including the glottal stop.
>In many languages of Sulawesi, final glottal stop seems to have resulted
>from preglottalization of former final consonants through two different
>(1) after former unvoiced stops, that stop got deleted, leaving the
>    lone glottal stop at word final:
>    *-k > *-'k > -' / *-p > *-'p > -' / *-t > *-'t > -'
>(2) after voiced stops and non-nasal continuents, an epenthetic
>    vowel inserted itself in the final cluster with metathesis of
>    the glottal and formerly final consonant:
>    *-b > *-'b > -ba' / *-d > *-'d > -da' / *-g > *-'g > -ga' /
>    *-s > *-'s > -sa' /
>   (_r_ and _l_ seem to be similar, but without my notes I'm not so sure)

I should have mentioned this article as well in regards to the glottal
stop, which discusses some of this kind of information for Konjo:

Friberg, Timothy and Barbara Friberg.  1991.  Notes on Konjo phonology. In
Sneddon, J.N., ed., Studies in Sulawesi linguistics Part II.  Linguistic
studies of Indonesian and other languages in Indonesia, NUSA volume 33.
Jakarta:  Badan Penyelenggara Seri Nusa.

And a quote from my seminar paper (p. 1) relates this information briefly
(your details appear to summarize the same or similar phonology/phonetics):

"In many South Sulawesi languages the only final consonants are the velar
nasal /ng/ and the glottal stop /?/.  The glottal stop leads Friberg and
Friberg (1991) to make complicated phonological rules to justify that it is
an underlying consonant in Konjo (a Makassar language) which may surface as
part of a geminate consonant."

>In some languages, the choice of the epenthetic vowel (in these examples
>_a_) is determined by vowel harmony (it is the same as the vowel of the
>originally ultimate syllable). Otherwise, it is typically _a_

For vowel harmony phenomena word final, Balantak (a Saluan language in
Central Sulawesi--also one of the few Sulawesi languages with final
consonants) has a suffix which harmonizes with the final vowel of the root
or stem.  See:

Busenitz, Robert L. and Marilyn J. Busenitz.  1991.  Balantak phonology and
morphophonemics.  In Sneddon, J.N., ed., Studies in Sulawesi linguistics
Part II.  Linguistic studies of Indonesian and other languages in
Indonesia, NUSA volume 33.  Jakarta:  Badan Penyelenggara Seri Nusa.

Languages in the Tomini-Tolitoli have major vowel harmony prefixes.  I have
done extensive analysis of vowel harmony in Pendau (which will of course be
in my thesis).  Let me know if you want details on that.  The essences is
that the /o/ vowel can be posited as underlying and becomes fronted to /e/
or /a/ depending on the frontedness of the first vowel of the root or stem
(and goes from right to left and can chain in up to three prefixes).

In Pendau the epenthetic vowel is /o/.  Epenthesis occurs between
consonants of word final consonants and consonant initial enclitics.

>In some languages, final nasal fuses with the glottal to _ng_
>    *-n > *-'n > -ng / *-m > *-'m > -ng / *-ng > *-'ng > -ng
>in others (if I remember correctly) final nasals behave like the
>non-nasal continuents sub (2) above, i.e.
>    *-n > *-'n > -na' / *-m > *-'m > -ma' / *-ng > *-'ng > -nga'
>but, not having my notes with me, I'm not so sure about this latter.
>In Makassarese, and perhaps also some others, there seems to be a
>difference in the development of original and loaned lexical items.

In Pendau there is a strange phonology rule that does not seem conditioned
phonologically (and I surmise is somehow historically driven?!).
Final velar nasals /ng/ become 'fronted' to /n/ word finally before
suffixes but not before enclitics (which are phonologically part of the
word as attested by penultimate stress and epenthesis).  There are also
word final /ng/ that of contrast with words that end with /n/.

>> belongs).  For example, ['api] and [kapi] 'wing' in Pendau and Ledo
>> respectively (note that ['api] 'wing' is a minimal pair with [api] fire in
>> Pendau). (full details of these statistics are in the workpaper)
>Do I understand this correctly, that Pendau has opposition of glottal
>and vocalic attack (like, I believe, in Hawaiian)?

I don't know about Hawaiian.  But yes this is a minimal pair in Pendau, and
there may be others.  Word initials are problematic in several Sulawesi
languages (see Gorontalo for example as discussed by Steinhauer in the
reference I gave earlier).  I'm sorry I'm not familiar with the term
'vocalic attack'.  This is the problem that led me to do this bit of
research, but I haven't properly finished the research up on this problem,
but my hypothesis (and re-checking some videos I have of Pendau speakers)
it appears that the problem has to do with a marginal creaky voice overlay
on the vowel.  There may also be some other problems in which the glottal
may appear sometimes as a non-phonemic utterance (as in English _apple_).

>In Malay and in Tagalog, words orthographically having initial vowel
>actually have initial glottal stop. In Malay, that glottal is retained
>after prefixes not ending in nasal (otherwise it fuses with such a nasal
>like other rootmorph-initial voiceless stops).
>Salam,   Waruno
>Waruno Mahdi                  tel:   +49 30 8413-5411
>Faradayweg 4-6                fax:   +49 30 8413-3155
>14195 Berlin                  email: mahdi at
>Germany                       WWW:

More information about the An-lang mailing list