Although it has generally been assumed that Namakir is the only Vanuatu language that has a phonemic reflex of Proto-Oceanic *q, recent data collected from a number of languages in north-central Malakula show that *q is also reflected there, though it is lost in quite a number of words. Of interest is the fact that, in noninitial position,

*q merges with *k, usually as x; but in initial position, *q is reflected as i, probably via intermediate y. We argue that these cases of initial i are not prothetic but constitute "real" reflexes of *q, and we attempt to explain the phonetics of the *q > i change. In doing so, we suggest that these data provide further evidence that *q was probably a uvular and not a glottal stop.


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pp. 233-238
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