The phonetics of Qaqet, a language of Papua New Guinea
Qaqet is a Baining language of East New Britain province, Papua New Guinea. In this talk, I initially outline the phonetics and phonology of Qaqet, which has four vowels and 16 consonants, focusing in particular on phonetic variability in this small phoneme inventory. I then consider in a little more detail the voiced stops of Qaqet /b d ɡ/, which are described by Hellwig (2019) as being pre-nasalized. The issue of pre-nasalization of voiced stops has been of considerable interest in the literature on Papuan languages (cf. Palmer 2018), and their presence in Qaqet (a Papuan language) is usually attributed to contact with Oceanic languages. I present analyses of the voiced stops which suggest that any pre-nasalization is acoustically quite different from the nasal consonant phonemes of the language, and serves largely to maintain the very long voiced stop closure durations. These phonetic details may inform issues of language contact between Oceanic languages and Papuan languages, providing evidence of how a particular phonetic feature may be realized when borrowed into an existing inventory.
Hellwig, Birgit. (2019). A Grammar of Qaqet. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton.
Palmer, Bill (ed.) (2018). The Languages and Linguistics of the New Guinea Area: A Comprehensive Guide. De Gruyter Mouton.