From: Marianne Borroff <mlborroffgmail.com>
Subject: A Landmark Underspecification Account of the Patterning of Glottal Stop
Institution: State University of New York at Stony Brook
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2007
Author: Marianne L. Borroff
Dissertation Title: A Landmark Underspecification Account of the Patterning of Glottal Stop
Dissertation URL: http://roa.rutgers.edu/view.php3?id=1289
Marie K. Huffman
This dissertation addresses the asymmetry in patterning between laryngeal
and supralaryngeal consonants. In this dissertation, I consider four
patterns: (1) required identity-across-glottals (in V1?V2, V1 = V2); (2)
hiatus resolution-like processes in V?V(V?V patterns with VV); (3)
prohibition of glottal stop from syllable onset or coda; and (4) temporal
instability of sequences with glottal stop (e.g. vowel intrusion: Vx?C ->
Vx?VxC,coalescence of C? to C'). I present a unified analysis of these
patterns within the frameworks of Articulatory Phonology (Browman and
Goldstein 1986, et seq.) and Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993),
in which utterances are comprised of abstract articulatory gestures (rather
than segments or features).
I argue that the exceptional behavior of glottal stop is a function of its
acoustic properties: in contrast to oral stop consonants, glottal stop does
not condition formant transitions, and therefore lacks the landmarks of
ONSET (marking the beginning of the gesture) and OFFSET (marking the end of
the gesture.) Based on data on temporal relations within syllables and
sequences (e.g. in Browman and Goldstein 2000, and others), I propose that
the ONSET and OFFSET landmarks are points of alignment for phasing
relations that underlie syllabification and sequentiality. Because it lacks
these crucial landmarks (the Landmark Underspecification proposal), glottal
stop cannot participate unambiguously in syllabic or sequential phasing
This approach provides an account of each of the patterns described above.
Hiatus resolution-across-glottals occurs because the glottal stop cannot
satisfy the constraint that requires syllable onsets to be precisely phased
with respect to the following vowel; glottal stop is therefore not a
satisfactory syllable onset. Languages in which the vowels flanking
laryngeal consonants are required to be identical exhibit a subset case of
the hiatus resolution pattern, differing only in the strategies employed to
repair hiatus. Similarly, glottal stop is disallowed pre- or
postvocalically in some languages because it cannot obey the constraints on
phasing of onset or coda consonants with respect to syllable nuclei.
Finally, the lack of clear cues to the temporal position of glottal stop
lead underlying sequences with glottal stop to surface non-sequentially,
manifested as vowel intrusion or as coalescence of the glottal stop with a
vowel or consonant.
Among the languages discussed are Yatzachi Zapotec (Otomanguean), Yucatec
Maya (Mayan), Kekchi (Mayan), Arbore (Cushitic), Tukang Besi
(Malayo-Polynesian), Kashaya (Pomoan) and Yurok (Algic).
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