Details for: Awetí:
Alternative names:
Dialect of:
Genetic affiliation:
Mawetí-Guaraní, Tupí
Upper Xingu, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Number of speakers:
170 (2010)
"1. Generally, using procedural metaphors, NH in Awetí ‘works’, or nasality ‘spreads’, from the right to the left.
2. If it works from left to right, it affects at most one segment, while to the left it can cover several syllables, mostly until the beginning of the word.
3. The ‘source’ of nasality (segments that are believed to be nasal on the phonological level and with which other segments harmonize on the phonetic level), is usually (a) one of the intrinsically nasal vowels /ã, ẽ, ĩ, õ, ũ, ɨ̃/ or (b) one of the nasal consonants /m, n, ŋ/. (c) Besides these, phonetically nasal (including nasalized) vowels cause nasalization of a consonant at their right.
4. Segments that harmonize phonetically as to nasality or orality, that is, the affected ‘targets’ of nasal spreading, are: (a) the phonologically neutral vowels /a̠, e̠, i̠, o̠, u̠, ɨ̠/; (b) the voiced consonants (i.e., the glides /j, w/, the liquids /l, ɾ/ and the reflexive fricative /ʐ/); (c) the plosives /p, t, k/ and the affricate /ts/, which have pre-nasalized phonetic variants [mp], [nt], [ŋk] and [nts]; and (d) the final consonants /P, T, K/ which have among their oral variants the unreleased stops [p̚, t̚, k̚] and the ‘lenis’ continuants [β, ɾ, ɣ], and as their nasal variants [m, n, ŋ].
5. The glottal segments /ʔ, h/ are not affected by, and transparent to, NH.

>> NB. Analysis w/ ONLY oral&nas Vs (where oral vs nasalize, or where oral are default) insufficient.

DRUDE, Sebastian. Nasal harmony in Awetí: a declarative account. ReVEL. Special edition n. 3, 2009. ISSN 1678-8931 []."
Syllable types:
V, CV, VC, CVC (word finally), CVw, CVj (word medially)
Restrictions on single onsets:
Restrictions on onset clusters:
Restrictions on single codas:
In the coda, only certain consonants may appear:
1. P (neutralization of p and m)
2. T (neutralization of t and n)
3. K (neutralization of k and ŋ)
4. /j/, /w/
5. NOT: /ts/, /kw/, /z/, /h/, /l/, /r/
This holds for VC and CVC.
Restrictions on coda clusters:
Voiced-voiceless stop contrast:
Nasal contrast on consonants:
Nasal-voiced stop contrast:
Nasal-voiced stop contrast restrictions:
no such restriction. voiced stops [b] only occur as members of consonants such as [mp~mb], which are allophones of /p/. /p/ constrasts with /m/, but there is no consonant /b/.
Nasal-voiceless stop contrast:
Nasal-voiceless stop contrast restrictions:
/p/ and /m/ only contrast in the onset.
In the coda, the contrast is neutralized, the realization of the consonant /P/ depends on orality or nasality of the preceding vowel (somtimes of that of an following consonant).
Nasal-oral vowel contrast:
Nasal-oral vowel contrast restrictions:
Nasal assimilation:
Trigger segments class:
Trigger segments list:
Conditions on trigger segments:
Target segments class:
Target segments list:
Conditions on target segments:
Nasal harmony:
Domain of spreading:
right to left
Trigger segments class:
nasC, nasV
Nasal consonants, nas vowels
Trigger segments list:
ã, ɛ̃, ĩ, ũ, ɔ̃, ɨ̃, m, n, ŋ
Conditions on trigger segments:
/NAS-V/s may be anywhere in word (no sfxs w/nas Vs). /ORAL-VS/are only in last syll of stems & sfxs. There's 3rd set of "neutral" Vs that adapt orality/nasality to following segs/sylls - Only in non-morph-final sylls.
Target segments class:
ntrl Vs, -vc stop, aff, neutral stops (coda), glid
Target segments list:
a̠ e̠ i̠ o̠ u̠ ɨ̠ p t k ts P T K j w ʐ ɾ l
Conditions on target segments:
stops and affricates only if not word-initial; NB. These vowels listed above are "neutral"
Transparent segments class:
glottal segments (maybe voiced Cs?)
Transparent segments list:
h, ʔ ?/ʐ, ɾ, l/
Blockers class:
oral vowels (see below)
Blockers list:
Prenasalization of blockers:
Postnasalization of blockers:
Nasal morphemes:
Commutation level:
Spreading source:
Floating nasal:
Stylistic conditions:
Adjacency conditions:
Contour segments:
Source of contour segments:
Examples of contour segments:
1. Domain = word
2. BLOCKERS CLASS: inherently oral or nasal vowels cause syllables to their left to harmonize with them. So, an inherently oral vowel (e.g., in composition) could be seen as a blocker of spreading of nasality from the right. Otherwise, no blockers.
3. ADJACENCY CONDITIONS: Nasal V harmonize with the following V, of with an intervening nasal C. Stops & affricate are pre-nas if following a nasal(ized) V. Neutralized stops in the coda harmonize w/ the immediately preceding (inherently nas or oral) V, & they may be nasalized even after an oral V if followed by an nasal C. Glides, and perhaps the voiced Cs, are nasalized if adjacent to a nasal(ized) V.
Anomalous segments:
/P/ - neutralized archiphoneme
/T/ - neutralized archiphoneme
/K/ - neutralized archiphoneme
Also, neutralized vowel series: /i̠, ɨ̠, u̠, ɛ̠, ɔ̠, a̠/
Consonant examples:
Word-Initially: p t k kʷ ʔ m n j w ts h l
Word-medially (onset): p t k kʷ ʔ m n ŋ j w ts z h l r
Morpheme-final (coda): j w P T K
Oral vowel examples:
Nasal vowel examples:
Stress rule(s):
usually, stress falls on the last syllable of the STEM. Some derivational suffixes and very vew allomorphs of inflexional suffixes attract stress.
Stress source(s):
Own field work observation and analysis performed by Drude
Data provided by:
Sebastian Drude
Museu P.E. Goeldi
Sebastian.Drude at
Data based on acoustic evidence:
Data tested in laboratory:
Data collected:
by the author
Primary source(s):
Drude, Sebastian. 2008. "Tense, aspect and mood in Awetí verb paradigms: analytic and synthetic forms". In: David K. Harrison, David Rood, and Arienne Dwyer (eds). A world of many voices: lessons from endangered languages. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: Benjamins. 67–110.

Drude, Sebastian. 2009a. "Nasal harmony in Awetí and the Mawetí-Guarani family (Tupí)". Amerindia (Paris). Vol. 32. 239–276.

Drude, Sebastian. 2009b. "Nasal harmony in Awetí: A declarative account". ReVEL (Revista Virtual do Estudo da Linguagem). Special edition n. 3.
Secondary source(s):