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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The interaction of metrical structure, tone, and phonation types in Quiaviní Zapotec Chávez Peón , Mario E.


This thesis investigates the interaction between different prosodic patterns in Quiaviní Zapotec (Otomanguean), and accounts for them both at the phonetic and the phonological level. In it, I examine an array of complex patterns along multiple dimensions, including metrical structure, tone, and phonation types; as well as how these patterns interact with the fortis/lenis distinction, and syllable structure. Within the framework of Optimality Theory, my analysis sheds light on the phonetics-phonology interface and emphasizes the need for a theory with moraic structure. This dissertation presents the first thorough phonetic documentation of the prosody of Quiaviní Zapotec. It makes a significant empirical contribution by providing descriptive generalizations of vowel and consonant length, a reanalysis of tone as contrastive in Quiaviní Zapotec, and a new approach to the study of the four-way phonation contrast in this language — modal /a/, breathy /a̤/, creaky /a̰/ and interrupted /aʔ/ vowels — (cf. Munro & Lopez, 1999). In addition, this research makes significant contributions to phonological theory, with regards to both segmental and prosodic phenomena. Within an emergent feature approach, I revisit the fortis/lenis distinction, which crosscuts the obstruent-sonorant contrast in Quiaviní Zapotec. I analyze it as a composite of language-specific phonological and phonetic properties, encoded with the feature [+/-fortis]. Adding to the typology of syllable weight, fortis consonants are analyzed as moraic in coda position, but among them, only fortis sonorants may bear tone alongside vowels (i.e. *[-SON][TONE] ‘No tones on obstruents’). Furthermore, I show specific timing patterns for the phonetic implementation of tonal and laryngeal features. Quiaviní Zapotec exhibits compatibility of contrasts; compromise of phonological features (e.g. tonal contrasts are cued during modal phonation, followed by breathiness or laryngealization); or complete incompatibility, which translates into phonemic gaps. This distribution is formalized in terms of markedness interaction and grounded constraints (e.g. ‘If [+spread glottis], then Low tone’, accounting for the absence of high tone with breathy vowels). Overall, the thesis analyzes the minimal prosodic word in Quiaviní Zapotec (a bimoraic foot) as the domain where the full array of tonal and phonation type contrasts takes place, and illustrates particular mechanisms by which phonetic factors shape phonology.

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