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On 07/08/2015 21:48, Dirk Elzinga wrote:
> On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 1:55 PM, Garth Wallace wrote:
[snip]
>>
>> Salient in that if the consonant is a coda of the
>> preceding syllable it affects that syllable's length,
>> but if it's part of the onset of the following
>> syllable it doesn't affect syllable length.
>>
>
> This is circular. You're using a claim about syllable
> structure to define syllable structure. It's commonly
> assumed that coda consonants shorten a preceding vowel.

Commonly? By Whom? What language(s) are you talking about?

In Classical Latin and Greek a syllable coda most certainly
did not shorten a vowel.  In Greek it is clearer from the
spelling, but it was also certainly the case in Latin as we
can from Greek transliterations, vowel development in
Romancelangs etc.

Also, at least in the languages I'm familiar with, we seem
to be getting vowel length confused with syllabic quantity.
That is sort of confusion that lead to statements in old
text books such as "a vowel before two or more consonants is
long by position" (and, in the old days before any attempt
was made at restoring something approximating the Classical
pronunciation, the vowel was indeed pronounced as a short
vowel!).

But things have moved on since then. In those two languages,
a syllable ending in a consonant coda is heavy and *it does
_not_ affect the length of the preceding vowel*.

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On 07/08/2015 21:58, Garth Wallace wrote:[snip]
>
> I was thinking of the Japanese case, where a coda
> consonant counts as an additional mora but an onset does
> not: "u" and "ju" are each one mora long but "jun" is
> two.

Yes, where you have morae I guess it's sensible to talk of a
syllable of one mora as being short and two morae being long.

IIRC I have come across syllables in ancient Greek and Latin
being classified thus:
- nuclear vowel short and no code: short (one mora)
- nuclear vowel long and no coda: long (two morae)
- nuclear vowel short and coda: long (two morae)
- nuclear vowel long and coda: extra long (three morae)

But that IMHO is baloney.  Classical prosody contrasts light
and heavy syllables; it recognized no 'extra-heavy' (or
extra-long) syllables.  Mora IMO is not useful concept here.

I think a great variety of treatment of such things are
found in natlangs and the whole subject of stress-based,
syllable-timed, mora-timed etc and syllabic structure is
worthy of a dissertation or thesis in its own right.

-- 
Ray
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Nid rhy hen neb i ddysgu.
There's none too old to learn.
[WELSH PROVERB]