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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Colloquial forms in Tokyo Japanese Katsura, Yasuko


This thesis discusses the interaction of prosodic constituency with segmental and tonal analyses. This is done through the examination of two phonological reduction processes, Nasal Spreading and Vowel Deletion, in colloquial Tokyo Japanese. This thesis consists of two chapters. Chapter I analyzes Nasal Spreading, a nasal assimilation process, which occurs when the negative suffix /nai/ is attached to verb roots. In order to explain this process, first, the segmental conditions for Nasal Spreading are examined. Among verbs, only /r/-final roots trigger assimilation. This is explained in terms of Rhotic Underspecification (Mester and Ito 1989, and others), Feature Class Theory (Padgett 1994), and Feature Licensing (Ito, Mester, and Padgett 1994), demonstrating that the target /r/ lacks specification under the root node. The prosodic account analyzes Nasal Spreading as a syllabification process. Nasal Spreading adds one mora; whereas the standard form, a general form in /nai/-suffixation, epenthesizes /a/ to break up the consonant cluster, by adding a mora and a syllable to the output string. The prosodic account also deals with the interaction with tonal system. A disyllabic requirement on the derived base can be explained with respect to a violation of tonal agreement. The tone melodies in the colloquial and standard forms must agree; however, the constraints on Accent Shift or Initial Lowering require minimally disyllabic strings [@ @] in the base for the agreement. Chapter II discusses Vowel Deletion. In Vowel Deletion as well the interaction of the three types of structure is discussed. Segmentally, the type of compounds and vowels for deletion are specified. This is examined under the Theory of Underspecification (Archangeli 1988), and/or under the sonority scale approach (Prince and Smolensky 1993) . The prosodic analysis deals with domain specification. The lexical tone in the second constituent of the compound blocks deletion; because it blocks formation of the single tone domain which would be the site for Vowel Deletion. Only one tonal peak is allowed in a single tone domain. The blocker splits a string of compound into two; Vowel Deletion cannot apply between two domains. In Nasal Spreading and Vowel Deletion, segmental, prosodic, and tonal principles interact to determine the optimal output strings. The intricate interplay is accounted for with the Optimality Theoretic approach.

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