Edited by Eri Kashima and Miriam Meyerhoff
[Asia-Pacific Language Variation 7:1] 2021
► pp. 30–61
This paper presents a sociophonetic analysis of word-final /n/-elision in Ende (Pahoturi River; Papuan). An analysis of 73 speakers reveals that tense, phonological context, and most significantly, whether or not the speaker is a kawa practitioner, a prestigious type of public oration, are significantly correlated with /n/-retention. A closer look at just five kawa practitioners reveals that age and genre may also play a role. The present study matches Schokkin’s analysis of /n/-elision in Idi (this issue). Indeed, the findings support her conclusions that this pattern is one of /n/-elision (not /n/-addition) and show similarities in conditioning factors. Analysing sociolinguistic variation in this region presents a unique set of benefits and challenges. This paper discusses how emically-derived categories relating to age, clan, and orator status may deviate from characterisations of prestige in Westernised and urbanised societies but better fit southern New Guinea’s social context.