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Indonesian: Vowel Allophones


Nasalized Vowels

Vowels to the right of a nasal consonant are nasalized. Compare the oral and nasalized vowels of the nominalizer suffix -an /-an/ in ajaran and makanan, respectively.


ajar 'to teach'

/adʒaɾ/

[ˈʔadʒaɾ]

Listen

Seeing
  ajaran 'the teaching' /adʒaɾ-an/ [ʔaˈdʒaɾan] Listen Seeing


makan 'to eat'

/makan/

[ˈmãkan]

Listen

Seeing
  makanan 'food' /makan-an/ [mãˈkanãn] Listen Seeing

Compare also the oral and nasalized vowels of the locative suffix -i /-i/ in dekati and datangi, respectively.


dekat 'close(prep)'

/dəkat/

[dəˈkat̚]

Listen

Seeing
  dekati 'to approach' /dəkat-i/ [deˈkati] Listen Seeing


datang 'to come'

/dataŋ/

[ˈdataŋ]

Listen

Seeing
  datangi
'to visit
a place'
/dataŋ-i/ [daˈtaŋĩ] Listen Seeing

The rightward spread of nasalization may extend to a second vowel over an intervening [w, j, ʔ, h] consonant.

Tense-lax Vowels

High Vowels

The high vowels /i, u/ have tense and lax allophones. The tense allophones [i, u] occur in open syllables and in closed stressed syllables where the coda consonant is a nasal (e.g. himpit and rumput). The lax allophones [ɪ, ʊ] occur in all other closed syllables.

/i/

ini 'this'

/ini/

[ˈʔini]

Listen

Seeing
  himpit 'closely
packed'
/himpit/ [ˈhimpɪt̚] Listen Seeing
  kirim 'send' /kirim/ [ˈkirɪm] Listen Seeing

/u/

upah 'salary'

/upah/

[ˈʔupah]

Listen

Seeing
  rumput 'grass' /rumput/ [ˈrumpʊt̚] Listen Seeing
  bungsu
'smallest son
or daughter'
/buŋsu/ [ˈbuŋsu] Listen Seeing

Mid Vowels

The mid vowels /e, o/ have tense and lax allophones. The tense allophones [e, o] occur in open syllables unless the corresponding lax allophone is in the next syllable to the right. The lax allophones [ɛ, ɔ] occur in closed syllable and in an open syllable if the corresponding lax vowel is in the syllable to the right (e.g. bebek and rokok).

/e/

serong 'slanting'

/seɾoŋ/

[ˈseɾɔŋ]

Listen

Seeing
  teh 'tea' /teh/ [ˈtɛh] Listen Seeing
  tokek 'lizard-like
gecko'
/tokek/ [ˈtokɛʔ] Listen Seeing
  nenek 'grandmother' /nenek/ [ˈnɛ̃nɛ̃ʔ] Listen Seeing
  bebek 'duck' /bebek/ [ˈbɛbɛʔ] Listen Seeing

/o/

roda 'wheel'

/ɾoda/

[ˈroda]

Listen

Seeing
  bakso 'beef ball' /bakso/ [ˈbak̚so] Listen Seeing
  rokok 'cigarette' /ɾokok/ [ˈrɔkɔʔ] Listen Seeing
  pohon 'tree' /pohon/ [ˈpɔhɔn] Listen Seeing



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