LINGUIST List 2.100

Thursday, 28 Mar 1991

Disc: Phonology

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. , Root Note
  2. , RE: Vowels and Stress

Message 1: Root Note

Date: Mon, 25 Mar 91 13:07 EDT
From: <>
Subject: Root Note
 In a recent posting, Greg Iverson asks about root structure
constraints and cites two different kinds of constraints he has
 (1) Roots may contain at most one glottalized consonant: 
*C'VC' [Mentioned re Quechua]. 
 (2) If a root contains a glottalized consonant, then both
consonants must be glottalized [Mentioned re Mayan languages]. 

 Constraint (1) is recognizable as an OCP effect of the sort
discussed in McCarthy (refs. below) in the context of root
structure constraints in Arabic, Mayan, and other languages.
Indeed, it is a form of Grassmann's Law (discussed in OCP terms
in Borowsky and Mester, 1983, and Mester, 1986), which as noted
by Mester (1986: 242) is virtually identical to
``deglottalization in Shuswap and other Salish languages (see
Gibson 1973, Kuipers 1974, and in particular Thompson and
Thompson 1985).'' 
 Constraint (2) would appear to evidence a rule spreading of
glottal features, or a constraint to the effect that they can
only appear in a spread configuration. However, the Mayan
constraint that we are familiar with has a somewhat different

 Mayan Glottalization Constraint. In C1-V-C2 roots, if C1
and C2 are both glottalized, then they must be identical in all
respects. (quoted from McCarthy, 1989: 81)

This constraint has been observed for Tsotsil (Weathers,
1947:111), Chontal (Keller, 1959: 49), Yucatec (Straight, 1976:
49), Tzutujil (Dayley, 1985: 31).
 McCarthy (1989: 83) suggests that this follows from a
constraint on the Laryngeal node to the effect that it MAY NOT
appear in a spread configuration, i.e. multiply-linked. That the
laryngeal features could be subject to such a constraint was
originally proposed in Ito^ & Mester (1986), with respect to
voicing restrictions in Japanese morphemes and compounds. 
 Under the no-multiple-linking hypothesis, both C's can be
glottalized in a root only when they share a single root node,
ie. are identical in all respects. (Appearance of two
nonidentical glottalized C's, e.g. p'Vt', would require separate
glottal specifications on each C, ruled out by the OCP). This
root-sharing approach requires v,c-segregation -- separation of
vowel and consonant melodies onto different planes -- but this is
predicted by proposals in Prince (1987) and McCarthy (1989).

 The works cited below by Ito^, Lombardi, McCarthy, Mester,
and Yip contain discussion of root structure constraints in
various languages.

-Alan Prince & John McCarthy


 Borowsky, T. and R.-A. Mester (1983) ``Aspiration to
Roots,'' CLS 19, 52-63.
 Dayley,J. (1985) _Tzutujil Grammar_, University of
California Press: Berkeley.
 Gibson, J. (1973) _Shuswap Grammtical Structure_, University
of Hawaii Working Papers 5.5.
 Ito^, J. & R.-A. Mester (1986) ``The Phonology of Voicing
in Japanese,'' LI 17, 49-73.
 Keller, K. (1959) ``The Phonemes of Chontal (Mayan),'' IJAL
25, 44-53.
 Kuipers, A. (1974) _The Shuswap Language: Grammar, Texts,
Dictionary. Janua Linguarum Series Practica 225, Mouton: The
 Lombardi, L. (1990) ``The Nonlinear Organization of the
Affricate,'' NL&LT 8.3, 375-425. 
 McCarthy, J. (1981) ``A Prosodic Theory of Nonconcatenative
Morphology,'' LI 12, 373-418.
 McCarthy, J. (1986) ``OCP Effects: Gemination and
Antigemination,'' LI 17, 207-263.
 McCarthy, J. (1988) ``Feature Geometry and Dependency: a
Review,'' Phonetica 43, 84-108.
 McCarthy, J. (1989) ``Linear Order in Phonological
Representation,'' LI 20, 71-99.
 Mester, R.-A. (1986) _Studies in Tier Structure_, Ph.D.
Dissertation, UMass, Amherst.
 Prince, A. (1987) ``Planes and Copying,'' LI 18, 491-510. 
 Straight, H. (1976) _The Acquisition of Maya Phonology: 
Variation in Yucatec Child Language_, Garlasnd: New York.
 Thompson, L. and M. Thompson (1985) ``A Grassmann's Law for
Salish,'' in _Festschrift for Gordon Fairbanks_, 134-147.
 Weathers, N. (1947) ``Tsotsil Phonemes with Special
Reference to Allophones of _b_,'' IJAL 13, 108-111.
 Yip, M. (1989) ``Feature Geometry and Co-occurence
Restrictions,'' Phonology 6, 349-374.^Z
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Message 2: RE: Vowels and Stress

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 91 11:01:27 PST
From: <>
Subject: RE: Vowels and Stress
John Coleman made the following interesting claim about the complaint that 
his example 'title/titular' was not relevant to the original query:

>That is a theory-internal statement. They fall in different stress-patterns,
>and are different in intensity and various other dimensions of quality.
>So to say they "do not have a stress difference" is a theory-internal
>conflation of physically distinct categories.

Vowel Reduction is a phenomenon that bears on how we pronounce sounds in
prosodic environments. That is why stress is central to the question. The
'title/titular' example bears on the question of what phonological forms we
assign to morphemes, not how we pronounce vowels.

I wish that modern phonologists would try harder to understand that fundamental
dichotomy in alternations that Baudouin de Courtenay observed when he developed
the foundations of modern phonology. He would have called vowel reduction
alternations 'physiophonetic' and the 'title/titular' vowel alternation
'psychophonetic'. Trubetzkoy came to adopt the term 'phonology' for 
physiophonetic phenomena and 'morphophonology' for psychophonetic phenomena.
The former field dealt with the question of how one pronounces (and perceives)
phonological forms, whereas the latter dealt with how one assigns phonological
forms to morphemes--two very different phenomena. Trubetzkoy went so far as
to say that they belonged to separate fields of study. Alas, modern phonology
conflates the two very different phenomena under the rubric of 'phonology'.
But from a historical point of view, it is J. Coleman who is making the 
theory-internal assumption about the relevance of certain vowel alternations.

 --Rick Wojcik

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