Edited by Eri Kashima and Miriam Meyerhoff
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 7:1] 2021
► pp. 1–29
The present study reports on verb-final variable realisation of the alveolar nasal /n/ in the Papuan language Idi. Elision of /n/ is correlated with both linguistic and social factors: present tense, a following consonant, and speakers over 60 show significantly greater rates of /n/ elision. Data from a 1988 grammar sketch indicate that for the present tense, variable realisation of verb-final /n/ is a case of stable, and perhaps age-graded, variation. Conversely, spread of n-less-ness into the other tenses may be a case of a change-in-progress, but at present this cannot clearly be confirmed. The older generation (speakers over 60) consistently show the highest rates of /n/ elision in all tenses. Elderly people are seen as the most proficient Idi speakers, and their position in society perhaps allows them to be more variable in their language use.