LINGUIST List 15.2027

Thu Jul 8 2004

Sum: Hiatus Resolution Across Glottals

Editor for this issue: Steve Moran <>


  1. Marianne Borroff, Sum. of Query: Hiatus Resolution Across Glottals

Message 1: Sum. of Query: Hiatus Resolution Across Glottals

Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:43:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: Marianne Borroff <>
Subject: Sum. of Query: Hiatus Resolution Across Glottals

Dear Linguists,

On 5/18, I submitted a query to Linguist List (Linguist 15.1586)
regarding the interaction of vowels across glottals, particularly the
tendency of some languages to exhibit hiatus resolution-like patterns
across glottals. The query asked whether any linguists had noticed
such patterns in the course of their research. I received a number of
interesting and helpful replies, a summary of which is given below.

The following sources were cited as dealing with hiatus resolution
across glottals, or as dealing with related phenomena:

-Casali, R. 1997. ''Vowel elision in hiatus contexts: Which vowel
goes?'' Language 73: 493-533.

-Dilley, L., S. Shattuck-Hufnagel, and M. Ostendorf. 1996.
"Glottalization of word-initial vowels as a function of prosodic
structure." Journal of Phonetics 24: 423-444.

-Ladefoged, P. and I. Maddieson. 1996. Sounds of the World's
Languages. Blackwells.

-Picard, M. 2003. ''On the emergence and resolution of hiatus.''
Folia Linguistica Historica 24: 47-57.

-Scott, C. T. 1964. ''Syllable Structure in Teheran Persian.''
Anthropological Linguistics 5, vol.1: 27-30.

Other issues discussed included the difficulty of distinguishing
glottal stop from creaky phonation, because the former is not
characterized by immediate cessation of the vocal folds. I thank Mark
Jones (Cambridge) who pointed out that the glottal element in V?V may
either be attributed to an underlying stop or to a voice-quality
distinction. If it is the latter, then the fact that hiatus
resolution-like processes occur across the glottal element is not
unexpected since no consonant intervenes between the two vowels. This
response identified an important issue in confronting V?V and VhV
sequences, which must be taken into account in further research on the

Thanks to Mark Jones (Cambridge), Marc Picard (Concordia) and Charles
T. Scott (Wisconsin) for their helpful and insightful responses to the
original query.
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