LINGUIST List 14.2186

Tue Aug 19 2003

Sum: Surface Glides

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  1. Susannah Levi, Surface glides

Message 1: Surface glides

Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 16:22:37 -0700 (PDT)
From: Susannah Levi <>
Subject: Surface glides

I recently posted a question about languages without surface glides
(Linguist 14.2075). I am including excerpts from the responses (4)
below. Thanks to those who replied:

****Response 1: Doutor Antnio Henrique de Albuquerque Emiliano

In European Portuguese gliding of the high vowels /i/ and /u/ occurs
in fast tempo speech.
E.g. "piada" (joke) becomes "p[j]ada", "luar" (moonlight) becomes
SAMPA: [pi."a.d6] vs. ["pja.d6]; [lu."ar] vs. ["lwar]
For SAMPA go to:

****Response 2: Ivan A Derzhanski
Georgian comes to mind (if my impression is correct, and in this case
others are sure to nominate it as well). --

****Response 3: Ante Aikio
Nganasan (a Uralic language belonging to the Samoyedic branch) may
come close to the kind of language you are looking for. Nganasan has
been analyzed as having one semivowel phoneme, /j/, but to my
knowledge it only occurs in syllable-final position,
i.e. preconsonantally and finally after a vowel: cf. e.g. /kojmu/
'marrow', /kojk/ 'idol' ( = schwa), /tuj/ 'fire', /ngoj/ 'foot' (ng =
velar nasal). Furthermore, it would appear to be possible to treat
this glide as an allophone of the voiced palatalized stop /d/, which
does not occur in these positions.

Disyllabic sequences of two vowels are very common in Nganasan, and as
far as I understand, no glide is ever inserted between the two vowels.

Eugene Helimski (1998). Nganasan. -- In: Daniel Abondolo (ed.), The
Uralic Languages, pp. 480-515. Routledge Language Family
Descriptions. London / New York.

N. M. Tershchenko 1979. Nganasanskij jazyk. Leningrad, "Nauka",
Leningradskoe otdelenie.

****Response 4: Mark Donohue

Tukang Besi has no phonemic glides, and allows glide formation only
optionally for unitial i immediately preceding a stressed vowel, as in
/iaku/		[i'aku] ~ ['jaku] 	'I, me'

but intervocalically they remain stubbornly syllabic:
/baiara/		["bai'ara], *[ba'jara]

Donohue, Mark. 1999. A grammar of Tukang Besi. Berlin: Mouton De

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