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Query Details

Query Subject:   Hiatus Resolution and glottals
Author:   Marianne Borroff
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Query:   I’m currently working on vowel-vowel interactions across glottals, and have found an interesting pattern in some languages in which hiatus resolution-like patterns occur
despite the presence of a glottal stop. For example, in Yatzachi Zapotec (an Oto-Manguean language spoken in South Eastern Mexico), the input VV and V?V sequences have the same output realization (the following transcriptions do not use the IPA, due to difficulties in transmitting special characters. ~ after a vowel signifies creakiness):

(1) Yatzachi Zapotec VV and V?V sequences (Data from Butler-Haworth (1980))
Input Output
a. zecha + o? ze.chao? diphthongization
chshagna? + o? chshagnao~ diphthongization
b. chxi + o? chxjo? dipthongization
chzi? + o? chzjo~ diphthongization
c. zecha + e? zeche? coalescence
chshagna? + e? chshagnee~ coalescence

Another example is found in Gujarati below. In Gujarati, the passive voice marker is realized as a suffix of the form [-a], which is added to the verbal base. When the verb is
vowel final, [w] is added to break up the hiatus. When the verb is [h] final, [w] is also epenthesized:

(2) Active Passive
a. ap ‘see’ apa ‘appear, be seen’
b. jan ‘know’ jana ‘be known’
c. pi ‘drink’ piwa ‘be drunk’
d. nah ‘bathe’ nahwa ‘be bathed’

In Yucatec Maya, the preferred repair strategy for vowels in hiatus is the epenthesis of an agreeing glide between the two vowels, with front vowels taking [y] and back vowels taking [w]. In some forms in which a glottal consonant intervenes between the two vowels underlyingly, the result is the deletion of the glottal stop and epenthesis of a glide:

(3) Input Output Gloss
a. le mèesay-e? le mèesaye? ‘that table’
b. le tyáa-o? le tyáawo ‘that aunt’
c. kin c’ah ik kin c’ayik ‘I give it’
d. p’o? eh p’oyeh ‘wash it!’
(Data from Orie and Bricker 2000)

My question is whether there are other languages that exhibit hiatus resolution-like patterns despite the presence of a glottal. I’d appreciate any additional information or references you might have regarding similar patterns cross-linguistically. I hope to gather the information and post a summary to the list.

Marianne L. Borroff (SUNY Stony Brook)
LL Issue: 15.1586
Date posted: 17-May-2004


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