This paper presents results of a phonetic study of the vowel system of Paicî, an Austronesian language of central New Caledonia. The Paicî vowel system is of phonetic interest for both its three-way lexical tone contrast, rare among Austronesian languages, and its relatively large inventory of both oral and nasalized vowels. The large number of nasalized vowels is rare not only from an Austronesian perspective, but also is typologically atypical throughout the world. This paper focuses on the analysis of qualitative aspects of both the oral and nasalized vowels of Paicî. It is shown that vowel qualities posited in previous research on Paicî are phonetically differentiated, with the contrast between certain nasalized vowels being more subtle than the contrast involving their oral counterparts. In addition, the phonetic realization of the three tones of Paicî is discussed.


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pp. 296-310
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