UBC Graduate Research

Labial spreading in Tlingit Weber, Natalie


Tlingit has constrastively rounded velar and uvular (dorsal) consonants. This contrast is neutralized next to a round segment, where only the rounded consonant is possible. I present evidence that this neutralization is part of a broader spreading phenomenon. Three novel generalizations have come out of this research. First, rounded and unrounded dorsals only contrast within roots, although affixes are allophonically rounded next to other round segments. Second, the spread of rounding is asymmetrical. Rounding spreads right onto not only dorsal consonants, but also high vowels. However, while rounding may spread left onto a dorsal consonant, high vowels to the left of a rounded segment are unaffected in the Transitional and Southern dialects. Third, I have found no root which contains two rounded consonants, which may reflect a local disharmony effect. Finally, I analyze the first two points using ranked constraints in the framework of Optimality Theory.

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