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Academic Paper


Title: Phonotactics and the prestopped velar lateral of Hiw: resolving the ambiguity of a complex segment
Author: Alexandre Francois
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://alex.francois.free.fr/
Institution: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Linguistic Field: Phonology
Subject Language: Hiw
Abstract: Complex segments consisting of two phases are potentially ambivalent as to which phase determines their phonemic status ??? e.g. whether // is a stop or a nasal. This theoretical problem is addressed here with respect to a typologically unusual phoneme in Hiw, an endangered Oceanic language of Vanuatu. This complex segment, //, combines a velar voiced stop and a velar lateral approximant. Similar phonemes, in the few languages which have them, have been variously described as (laterally released) stops, affricates or (prestopped) laterals. The nature of Hiw // can be established from its patterning in tautosyllabic consonant clusters. The licensing of word-initial CC clusters in Hiw complies with the Sonority Sequencing Principle, albeit with some adjustments. Consequently, the well-formedness of words like /meji????/ ???berserk??? relies on // being analysed as a prestopped velar lateral approximant ??? the only liquid in the system.

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This article appears IN Phonology Vol. 27, Issue 3.

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