LINGUIST List 15.2095

Mon Jul 19 2004

Diss: Phonology: Bosisio: 'Vocoids and...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. aozora6, Vocoids and their Prosodic Distribution...

Message 1: Vocoids and their Prosodic Distribution...

Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 09:52:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: aozora6 <>
Subject: Vocoids and their Prosodic Distribution...

Institution: University of Durham
Program: Department of Linguistics and English Language
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Nicole Maria Rina Bosisio 

Dissertation Title: Vocoids and their Prosodic Distribution, with
Special Reference to Italian and Arabic

Linguistic Field: Phonology 

Subject Language: Arabic, South Levantine Spoken (code: AJP)

Dissertation Director 1: S.J. Hannahs

Dissertation Abstract:
This study attempts to characterize vocoids, i.e. vowels and
semivowels, as a unified class of segments. In order to do so, it
investigates the main phenomena concerning the quantitative
distribution of these sounds, namely syllabic alternation, length
alternations, deletion and insertion. Such phenomena are best analyzed
by making reference to prosodic structure, and syllable structure in
particular. Therefore, both frameworks adopted in this thesis take
into consideration this type of representation.

The main approach, which I refer to generally as Derivational Theory
(DT), is based on the notion that surface phonetic forms are derived
from underlying forms through a series of structural changes taking
place at different levels of representation. This model is contrasted
with the recently introduced (Prince and Smolensky 1993) Optimality
Theory (OT), an output-oriented paradigm based on the parallel
evaluation of candidate forms by means of universal but violable
constraints. This thesis shows that OT offers some valuable insights
into the phenomena under analysis, although there are areas in which
it requires integration with derivational tools.

This study also makes specific reference to two languages: Ammani
Arabic and Standard Italian. These diverge in their treatment of
vocoids, but clear general trends may be detected which have also been
found in other languages.
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