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LINGUIST List 20.2432

Wed Jul 08 2009

Diss: Phonetics/Phonology: Hirayama: 'Postlexical Prosodic...'

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        1.    Manami Hirayama, Postlexical Prosodic Structure and Vowel Devoicing in Japanese

Message 1: Postlexical Prosodic Structure and Vowel Devoicing in Japanese
Date: 05-Jul-2009
From: Manami Hirayama <manami.hirayamautoronto.ca>
Subject: Postlexical Prosodic Structure and Vowel Devoicing in Japanese
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Institution: University of Toronto
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Manami Hirayama

Dissertation Title: Postlexical Prosodic Structure and Vowel Devoicing in Japanese

Dissertation URL: http://twpl.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/twpl/article/view/6494

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): Japanese (jpn)

Dissertation Director:
Keren D. Rice
Laura Marcela Colantoni
Peter Avery

Dissertation Abstract:

The thesis explores the nature of postlexical representation, as compared
to lexical representation. In particular, focusing on prosodic
representations, the question is asked as to whether the representation
really alters when it appears to do so.

I investigate this question through a study of the postlexical process of
High Vowel Devoicing/Deletion (HVD) in Japanese. In this process, apparent
consonant clusters are created, with the apparent deletion of the vowel,
and of the syllable and mora units projected from the vowel in the lexical
domain. Two questions are raised. First, is the prosodic unit deleted in
HVD? Second, does the prosodic inventory change in the postlexical domain;
do these apparent consonant clusters actually form clusters linearly with
the deletion of the vowel in the postlexical representation?

The literature on HVD shows disagreement. Some researchers argue that the
syllable unit is maintained (e.g., Beckman 1996) while others argue for
desyllabification (e.g., Kondo 1997). Some researchers argue for the
deletion of the vowel (e.g., Beckman & Shoji 1984) while others argue that
the vowel is not deleted but rather devoiced (e.g., McCawley 1968, Tsuchida

The thesis presents the following claims. First, the syllable unit and the
mora unit are maintained in the postlexical domain in Japanese. By showing
that the lexical accent contrasts are maintained in pitch contours in HVD,
I conclude that the syllable unit remains present in HVD. With respect to
the mora, by examining places where the mora is important (e.g., poetry), I
show that there is no evidence for demoraification with HVD.

Second, the syllable and mora inventories do not change in the postlexical
domain in Japanese. I specifically test the hypothesis that HVD derives
syllabic/moraic voiceless consonants. Considering the consequences of this
hypothesis for segmental processes and the learning process along with the
perception of Japanese speakers, I conclude that the apparent consonant
clusters are best analyzed not as clusters postlexically, and that the
prosodic inventory does not alter. Rather, segments and prosodic units are
all kept intact as in the lexical representation, with the vowel undergoing
HVD remaining present in the representation.

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