Tjeerd de Graaf
Nivkh (also called Gilyak) is a language isolate (or microfamily) spoken on the island of Sakhalin and on the lower reaches of the Amur River in the Russian Far East. The thesis consists of descriptive and theoretical parts. The descriptive parts are Chapter 2 and the introductory sections of Chapter 3 and 4. These parts aim to familiarize the reader with the basic phonology of Nivkh, and to provide background information in order to discuss the phonological issues in Chapter 3 and 4. In these descriptive sections, special emphasis is put on i) those aspects of Nivkh phonology which have been hitherto unknown, and ii) those characteristics in which the West Sakhalin dialect of Nivkh deviates from other dialects of Nivkh. Chapters 3 and 4 discuss two phonological topics: Chapter 3 deals with laryngeal phonology and Chapter 4 with Consonant Mutation. In these chapters I will first give a descriptive sketch of the issues and review the way previous works dealt with them. For both issues, I propose alternative approaches and show how the proposed analyses succeed in describing complicated phonology on the surface from a restricted number of phonological principles and generalizations.