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Dissertation Information


Title: The Syllable of Basque: Structure and history Add Dissertation
Author: Oroitz Jauregi Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of the Basque Country, Basque linguistics and philology
Completed in: 2007
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics; Phonology; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Basque
Director(s): Joseba Lakarra
Miren Lourdes Onederra

Abstract: The present dissertation, based on the theory of Natural Phonology, examines the phonological features and the preferences (along the lines of Vennemann 1988) of the Basque syllable structure.

At the same time, it is shown that the motivation for the occurrence of many segmental phonological processes in Basque is the optimization of the unit syllable as such.

The dissertation also puts forward the idea that optimization of syllable structure may be an important motivation for the existence and productivity of many segmental processes of Basque phonology.

The holistic typology based on rhythm (Donegan / Stampe 1983, 2004) is fundamental in this dissertation. From that point of view, nowadays Basque exhibits a certain typological pattern: a agglutinating language, with a syllable-timed language-rhythm, and a quite natural phonological system, etc.

The dissertation intends to contribute, from the rhythmic perspective, to the recent proposals (especially Lakarra 2005, 2006) for the reconstruction of the Basque language.

In addition to that, two experimental analysis are presented. The first one is an acoustic phonetic experiment, as it measures the duration of syllables (of different syllable structures) in spontaneous speech. The second analysis is a diachronic comparison of the frequency of appearance of the different syllable structure types in several Basque written texts.

This piece of research aims at a better knowledge of the Basque language and also to underline the importance of the syllable in linguistic, and especially in phonological studies.