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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Representation of Underlying Glides: A cross-linguistic study Add Dissertation
Author: Susannah Levi Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Washington, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 2004
Linguistic Subfield(s): Phonology; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Pulaar
Ojibwa, Severn
Pashto, Central
Director(s): Ellen Kaisse

Abstract: This dissertation examines languages with underlying glides and provides a cross-linguistic representation of these segments. Glides pose a problem to theories of features and natural classes by variably patterning with vowels or consonants. I maintain that the reason for their varied behavior lies in their phonemic status, or lack thereof. Phonemic (or underlying) glides pattern with consonants in a variety of phonological processes. Derived glides, on the other hand, are realizations of underlying vowels and pattern with them.

The major contributions of this dissertation are (1) to prove that underlying glides do exist, (2) to provide a cross-linguistic representation for these segments that crucially distinguishes them from other similar segments (e.g. vowels), (3) to present a typology of mappings from underlying to surface vocoids, and (4) to provide a set of criteria that can be used to establish the existence of underlying glides.

I show that the following nine languages have underlying glides: Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber (Afro-Asiatic), Cree (Algonquian), Karuk (Hokan), Sundanese (Austronesian), Yawelmani (Yokuts), Tahltan (Athabaskan), Pulaar (Niger-Congo), Turkish (Altaic), and Pashto (Indo-Iranian). The criteria for determining the phonemic status of glides in these languages comes from (1) transparency to vowel harmony, (2) triggering of consonant harmony, (3) necessity of vowel epenthesis in unsyllabifiable clusters which include glides, (4) expected and unexpected syllabification of vocoids, (5) reverse sonority clusters, (6) blockage of nasal harmony, and (7) consonant gradation.

I compare four representations for underlying glides. The first employs a lexical marking (LEX) which forces some underlying vocoids into non-syllabic positions. The second representation uses the feature [consonantal] to distinguish underlying vowels from underlying glides (CONS). This has been the most widely used method. However, both LEX and CONS fail to distinguish underlying from derived glides in processes which refer to distinctive features.

Finally, I compare two feature geometries. The first segregates vowel and consonant place features on two different tiers (Vowel-Place Theory). The second uses only a single tier of place features and the markedness theory developed in Calabrese 1995 (Revised Articulator Theory (RAT)). When confronted with a variety of evidence, RAT fares better than Vowel-Place Theory.