|Title:||Topics in the Phonology and Morphology of Tuvan.||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||K. David Harrison||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||Yale University, Department of Linguistics|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Morphology; Phonology;|
|Abstract:||This thesis sets out, in some detail, the grammatical structure of Tuvan, a Turkic language of Siberia. Examples given herein are from original data collected by the author during fieldwork in 1996-2000. Chapter one provides a general overview of the grammar, including phonology, morphology and syntax.
Chapter two presents an acoustic study of the unique pitch accent system. Pitch in Tuvan is argued to constitute an autonomous phonological gesture. Other acoustic qualities such as vowel quantity are determined, we argue, by the dynamics of producing the appropriate pitch gesture.
Chapter three considers two complex phonological processes and their interaction. First, Tuvan is shown to have a kind of hiatus resolution in which low vowels dominate regardless of their relative position. This type was previously thought to be rare among the world's languages. Second, a process of velar deletion is shown to 'feed' hiatus resolution. Velar deletion is shown to be a robust phonological process, yet one that is blocked in a non-uniform subset of environments. Blocking of velar deletion arises, we demonstrate, to enhance recoverability of an identifiable class of 'small' morphological elements (i.e. short stems and short suffixes).
Chapter four discusses the basic patterns of vowel harmony in Tuvan and situates these in an Optimality theoretic model. In chapter five, we explore previously undocumented reduplication patterns. Further, we show the complex interaction of these with vowel harmony. The operation of standard Tuvan harmony, together with re-harmonization patterns under reduplication yields strong evidence for the necessity of underspecification in the grammar. We argue that underspecification is a natural and expected outcome of harmony systems and is not dependent on the presence of predictable alternations. Rather, it is driven by the presence of pervasive patterns of vowel occurrence, which may or may not include surface alternations.
In the Summary, we discuss some outstanding problems and suggest areas of linguistic theory that might benefit from our discoveries about Tuvan.