May River Iwam language

Iwam language

Iwam or May River Iwam is a language of Papua New Guinea spoken in East Sepik Province.


Front Central Back
Close i u
Mid e ə o
Open a

In non-final positions, /u/ /o/, /i/, and /e/ are [ʊ] [ɔ], [ɪ], and [ɛ], respectively. /ə/ appears only in nonfinal syllables. When adjacent to nasal consonants, vowels are nasalized; nasalization may also occur when adjacent to word boundaries.

Bilabial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ
Plosive p t k
Fricative s h
Flap r
Approximant j w

/p/ and /k/ are voiced fricatives ([β] and [ɣ]) respectively) when intervocalic and unreleased when final (/t/ is also unreleased when final). /ŋ/ is a nasal flap ([ɾ̃]) word-initially and between vowels. /s/ is [ts] initially and may otherwise be palatalized [sʲ]. Sequences of any consonant and /w/ are neutralized before /u/ where an offglide is always heard.


Bilabial and velar consonants and /n/ may be followed by /w/ when initial. Other initial clusters include /pr/, /kr/, /hr/, /hw/, and /hn/ and final clusters are /w/ or /j/ followed by any consonant except for /h/ or /ŋ/.



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