Phonologic variation in Palu’e, a language from Eastern Indonesia, and the devising of an orthographic system.
Abstract: This article presents a phonological description of the Palu’e language variants and reflects on the problems of representing the language in writing. Verifiable lexical and phono-logical data are made available and an orthography is introduced. Data and analysis is drawn from a comprehensive documentation, and specific recordings of three speakers/language variants reading the same wordlist, available in an online audio collection. The phonetically transcribed recording of one speaker is compared with the other two and the corpus-based phonological description, and provided in an annotated appendix. The annotated recordings support the estimate of >99% lexical congruence and mutual intelligibility between variants. From a multi-variant perspective several phonemes are in free variation with each other. /tʃ/ does not occur mid-word/second syllable in the interior variants that use the initial PMP *c instead of the coastal /s/, but is in complementary distribution with mid-word /dʒ/. /s/ is neither in complementary distribution with /tʃ/ nor /dʒ/ in the coastal variants. Several Palu’e variants exhibit sufficient specific features to be referred to as dialects, including two of the recorded samples, whereas the speech patterns of the phonetically transcribed speaker make sense from the perspective of the surrounding variants.
Keywords: Austronesian, Palu’e, Flores, phonology, orthography, language variation, language documentation