Article published in:Variation in the Pacific: Part II
Edited by Eri Kashima and Miriam Meyerhoff
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 7:1] 2021
► pp. 1–29
Variable realisation of verb-final /n/ in Idi
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.
Keywords: Papuan languages, elision, Pahoturi River, age-graded variation, esoterogeny, non-WEIRD societies
Published online: 09 June 2021
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