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LINGUIST List 23.4936

Mon Nov 26 2012

Books: Vowel Quantity and the Fortis - Lenis Distinction in North Low Saxon: Prehn

Editor for this issue: Danniella Hornby <daniellalinguistlist.org>

Date: 20-Nov-2012
From: Mariƫtte Bonenkamp <lotuu.nl>
Subject: Vowel Quantity and the Fortis - Lenis Distinction in North Low Saxon: Prehn
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Title: Vowel Quantity and the Fortis - Lenis Distinction in North Low
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series

Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke - LOT

Author: Maike Prehn

Paperback: ISBN: 9789460930775 Pages: Price: ----


The goal of this phonological investigation is to establish whether the
primary prosodic feature in Low German dialects is tone, quantity, or
something else entirely. All in all, we find that Low German employs a
combination of vowel quality and vowel quantity, which carries functional
load. It is a binary phonological system accounting for the ternary vowel
duration found in Low German. I point out a crucial distinction between fortis
vs. lenis consonants by means of laryngeal specification vs.
underspecification and, hence, structural complexity of the segments. It is
this complexity opposition in the coda consonants, which has a profound impact
on the vowel duration of a preceding nucleus. We arrive at a phonological
surface opposition of monomoraic vs. bimoraic and lax vs. tense in the vowel
system, and of laryngeally specified vs. unspecified in the consonant system.
Underlyingly, no quantity contrast exists in Low German, all vowels being
simply monomoraic. What remains is quality. With the data and analyses
presented in this thesis, Low German falls in the category of languages
featuring three phonetic degrees of vowel length that can be traced back to a
binary contrast at the surface level. No ternary quantity system is required.

Linguistic Field(s): Phonetics

Subject Language(s): German (deu)

Written In: English (eng)

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