At 2:21 AM +0000 02/01/02, And Rosta wrote:
>I presume that close v. loose contact makes lexical contrasts? But
>what is the rationale for the analysis in terms of syllable contact?
>Why not see the oatt:oat contrast as a VCC:VVC contrast that is
>neutralized if the syllable loses stress? Is it because there are
>morphological alterations that can toggle a single stem between close
>and loose, or something like that? If that happens, then the process
>looks to me like the morphologically-conditioned alternations of the
>CV template that are famous from Semitic.

Yes; syllable contact will make lexcial contrasts. Here's how I see
the Problem. A stressed syllable must be heavy. Since both vowel
length and consonant gemination are dependent on stress (in the sense
that they only show up in stressed syllables), a plausible
interpretation of their function is that they represent two
alternative ways of expanding a light, stressed syllable. This
implies that neither vowel length nor geminated consonants should be
present in the input.

If stress can be assigned independently of syllable weight, then
vowel length and gemination should be assigned after stress. Marking
vowel length or gemination would be equivalent to prespecifying
stress. For non-alternating forms, this would represent redundancy;
for alternating forms, the prespecified lexical stress would need to
be overwritten by the stress assigned by rule. So stress shouldn't be
marked in underlying forms.

So what is marked in underlying form? It isn't stress placement,
since stress is assigned by rule. It isn't vowel length or
gemination, since these are dependent on stress. The expansion type
(vowel lengthening or consonant gemination) does have to be marked,
since there are potential lexical contrasts between words like <nikr>
["ni:.k=r] and <nikkr> ["nIk.k=r] which depend solely on the
expansion type of the stressed syllable. This is the role that I'm
imagining syllable contact to play. If <nikr> is characterized by
loose contact, that determines that the expansion type is vowel
lengthening, which then doesn't need to be encoded in UR. Likewise,
if <nikkr> is characterized by close contact, that determines that
the expansion type under stress will be gemination, so gemination
doesn't need to be encoded in UR either.

(Of course, if the analyst isn't bothered by redundancy in URs, this
whole discussion is moot. I'm not sure that I'm bothered by it;
current phonological theory (i.e., Optimality Theory) certainly
allows for redundant URs.)

Part of my goal for Ustekkli is to explore the consequences of this
kind of prosody. I haven't seen it in a conlang before, and I thought
it'd be interesting to try it out.


Dirk Elzinga                                            [log in to unmask]

"Speech is human, silence is divine, yet also brutish and dead;
therefore we must learn both arts."
- Thomas Carlyle