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Re: Gzarondan: Phonological Review

From:Dirk Elzinga <dirk_elzinga@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 20, 2004, 21:49
On Oct 17, 2004, at 11:43 PM, Thomas R. Wier wrote:

> From: "Adrian Morgan (aka Flesh-eating Dragon)" > <dragon@...> >> Really? This is something that feels very intuitive to me. Certain >> consonants are characteristically articulated with slightly more >> energy than others, which is absorbed by increasing the volume of the >> following vowel. It sounds wholly plausible and sensible. > > Well, I'm not an expert on the phonetic principles underlying > phonological typology, but I think what you're describing here > really explains why so many languages prefer all syllables to > have onsets, rather than why/whether they are heavy. Most of the > languages I studied with her did not make any distinction between > the heaviness of phonemically long vowels and syllables with codas > (Latin, e.g., treats them the same way). Acoustically this might > be because vowels with codas tend to be slightly relatively lengthened, > which also might explain why some classes of consonants make > syllables heavy while others do not. But really we should be > asking Dirk this, as he is the local expert.
A Long Time Ago I read a paper (by Stuart Davis (?)) which argued that Arrernte does take onsets into account in determining stress placement. But it was and remains a controversial claim, and it is generally accepted that syllable weight is only sensitive to rhymes. This reminds me of an interesting problem in Shoshoni (morpho)phonology. For about two dozen disyllabic verbs, the durative aspect is formed by gemination of the medial consonant; when this occurs, stress shifts from the first syllable to the second: kate ['ka41] 'sit (SG.SUBJ)' katte [kat't1] 'sitting' wene ['w1n1] 'stand (SG.SUBJ)' wenne [w1n'n1] 'standing' hapi ['haBi] 'lie (SG.SUBJ)' happi [hap'pi] 'lying' yekwi ['j1G_wi] 'to say/do something (SG.SUBJ); to sit (PL.SUBJ)' yekkwi [j1k'k_wi] 'saying/doing something; sitting' etc. (In the absence of Gemination, intervocalic consonants are subject to lenition -- hence /p/ -> [B], /t/ -> [4], /k_w/ -> [G_w], etc.) Coda consonants are not moraic in Shoshoni, but this pattern is still unexpected from a purely phonological point of view. Either the stress shift has become one of the markers for durative aspect, and is thus under morphological control, or the onset is playing a role in stress placement (or the stress placement requires a good strong onset). Now that I'm busy again with Shoshoni fieldwork, I may get to find out about this (and other goodies). Dirk -- Dirk Elzinga "I believe that phonology is superior to music. It is more variable and its pecuniary possibilities are far greater." - Erik Satie