LINGUIST List 9.1139

Mon Aug 17 1998

Books: Phonology / Phonetics

Editor for this issue: Martin Jacobsen <martylinguistlist.org>


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  1. Rebecca Wipfler, Phonology/Phonetics

Message 1: Phonology/Phonetics

Date: 13 Aug 98 09:56:18 -0500
From: Rebecca Wipfler <rebecca_wipflergarland.com>
Subject: Phonology/Phonetics

Casali, Roderic F.; Resolving Hiatus; 0-8153-3149-5, cloth; pages,
$59; Garland Publishing; Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics

	This study investigates two alternative ways in which
languages resolve sequences of adjacent vowels (hiatus): deletion of
one of the vowels, or coalescence of the adjacent vowels to form a
third vowel that combines features of both the originals. Although
existing phonological theories predict relatively few restrictions on
the behavior of either process, a survey of 92 languages reveals a
number of surprising and previously unreported limitations on their
behavior. For example, although deletion of the first of two vowels is
extremely common and can apply in any position, deletion of the second
vowel is restricted to certain well-defined morpho-syntactic contexts,
such as the boundary between a root and a suffix. These restrictions,
are explained in terms of functionally-motivated constraints that
favor preservation of phonological material in certain prominent
positions, such as in root morphemes.
	In the case of coalescence, the study reveals a surprising
correlation between the structure of a language's vowel inventory and
the result of merging high and a non-high vowels. This correlation is
explained in terms of a novel theory of acoustic height features whose
detailed specification is determined by functionally-motivated
constraints sensitive to the number of vowel heights within a
particular language.


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1998 Contributors

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