The Phonetics and Phonology of Unreleased Stops in Karitiana

Luciana Storto, Didier Demolin


Karitiana, an endangered language from the Tupi stock, Arikem family, spoken in the state of Rondonia in Brazil, exhibits a number of interesting phenomena concerning stop consonants at the end of words. In particular, voiceless stops are always unreleased word-finally. This phenomenon has been observed as a occasional variant of stops in English (Laver 1994, Ladefoged & Maddieson 1996) and in a number of other languages such as Bamileke (Westermann & Ward 1952) and Efik (Cook 1969), and is systematic in Karitiana. Unreleased final stops are also common in Tupi languages and have been described by several researchers (e.g. Moore 1984; Galucio 1994, 1996; Gabas Jr. 1998, 1999; Storto 1999; Rose 2000). Such facts have rarely been described in a detailed manner. This paper describes some phonetic and phonological aspects of the nature of these sounds when they appear word finally. More specifically, three points will be examined: (i) voiceless stop consonants (there are no phonemic voiced consonants in Karitiana); (ii) nasal consonants, which have been described as unreleased word finally by Storto (1999), and (iii) the phonological behavior of these consonants in context.

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