Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

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


Sums main page