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

From:And Rosta <a.rosta@...>
Date:Sunday, December 9, 2001, 2:02
Thomas Wier:
> Speaking of syllable structure, is there any language out there that > beats Georgian's EIGHT consonants in an onset? > > gvprckvnis = "He is fleecing"
Natlang or conlang? If conlang, then Livagian onsets are of potentially infinite length if a syllable is defined as a single beat in a line of verse. Example with, say, 12 consonants: sgfbsjgkhlpsra s-g-f-b-s-j-g-kh-l-p-s-r-a [skfpSkKp'Sa] However, even with the same phonetic realization, this can also count as several beats in a line of verse, maximally: s- g-f- b-s-j- g-kh-l- p-s-r-a [s kf pS kK p'Sa] Each 'syllable' here contains a local peak of sononority, where the local peak is a vowel or a voiceless fricative. ...So you could take issue with my definition of 'syllable'. If you instead changed the definition to a unit that cannot count as more than one beat in a line of verse then the maximum number of Cs in an onset falls to 5, e.g. d-s-j-m-r-a [tSmRa] g-kh-l-m-j-a [kKmja] (R = post alveolar approximant; I don't know the X-SAMPA, offhand.) On yet another definition of syllable, mind you, only one C per onset is possible. The earlier example can be realized as [s@g@f@b@s@j@g@x@l@p@s@ra], so if you define a syllable as a phonological unit that has no alternative realization as a greater number of syllables, then consonant clusters are prohibited. FWIW, Livagian grammarians use not the concept 'syllable' but the similar concept of 'tactically unconstrained phonological unit', i.e. the minimal unit to which no phonotactic constraints apply. Such basic units contain an onset consisting of a single segment and a 'rime' consisting of one, two or three vowel elements. Livagian is a human language, btw, not an Alien one. --And.