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/a/ is the most sonorous human sound (and vowel), whereas /u/ is the least sonorous vowel, cf. “sonority hierarchy” or “sonority scale”. /au/ is therefore the “widest” diphthong possible. When acquiring speech, people tend to use and combine the extremes most. /ma/, for instance, has maximum contrast for [+sonorant]. We also prefer simple, open CV syllable ...


I think you are right. Aua is children's speak, they learn it from their parents, who try to express in words what their children feel in a simple word that babies can soon use themselves. I guess it is a children's version of Au, about which Grimm's dictionary says AU, ein schmerzensruf, dem sich schon mhd. wie heute ein we zugesellt, in welchem ...

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