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OT: Syllable structure in Georgian (was Re: sorta OT: cases, please help...)

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Friday, December 7, 2001, 6:30
Quoting laokou <laokou@...>:

> From: "Thomas R. Wier" > > > Speaking of syllable structure, is there any language out there that > > beats Georgian's EIGHT consonants in an onset? > > > > gvprckvnis = "He is fleecing" > > Okay, I'll bite. How is this pronounced? Is "r" vocalic? Minimal > pairs?
The short answer is: there's no real professional data to answer that question. What seems clear is that when /v/ follows consonants in onsets, its only function appears to be to labialize them, having no strong realization itself. I suspect that the other main peak of sonority in the "onset", the /r/, which is IIRC a uvular trill, probably functions, in effect, as a syllable nucleus. This would make my question a trick question, I suppose. One of the problems with answering this question is that nobody (and I mean, nobody) really knows what a syllable is. There are lots of good guesses, like the aforementioned sonority criterion. You can make a neat looking hierarchy for this: Most sonorous vowels (semivowels) liquids nasals fricatives stops Least sonorous with sounds higher on the hierarchy more likely to be a syllable nucleus. The Big Problem with this theory is that semivowels are *defined* by not being syllable nuclei: they're just like vowels, except, well, not. If it worked, though (OB: CONLANG), then you could set your syllable structure to allow syllable nuclei peaks at anywhere higher than, say, fricatives. Bella Coola e.g. has a word [sXs], whose meaning I forget. The theory that my phonetics professor espouses (in his more whimsical moments, which are legion), is that a syllable is basically what you want it to be -- i.e., syllables are phonological, not phonetic, targets. That explains why you can find minimal pairs that are distinguished only by the number of syllables: hire : [haI(r] (where /r/ is an alveolar glide) higher : [haI(r=] Most triphthongs, then, would presumably be cases where the people find it useful not to syllabify a word in a given way.
> Are we in the realm of Eskimo snow words?
No, I've heard it pronounced! ===================================================================== Thomas Wier <trwier@...> <> "...koruphàs hetéras hetére:isi prosápto:n / Dept. of Linguistics mú:tho:n mè: teléein atrapòn mían..." University of Chicago "To join together diverse peaks of thought / 1010 E. 59th Street and not complete one road that has no turn" Chicago, IL 60637 Empedocles, _On Nature_, on speculative thinkers


Lars Henrik Mathiesen <thorinn@...>
And Rosta <a.rosta@...>