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Postvelar harmony : an examination of its bases and crosslinguistic variation Shahin, Kimary N.


This dissertation examines postvelar harmony in two unrelated languages: Palestinian Arabic and St'at'imcets Salish. In contrast to previous studies, it identifies two such harmonies for each language: pharyngealisation (tongue root retraction) harmony and uvularisation (tongue back retraction) harmony. The properties of the two harmonies in each language are detailed. Acoustic data are provided as support for the proposed analyses and for the grounded phonological accounts which are subsequently developed. The harmonic feature of pharyngealisation harmony in both Palestinian and St'a'timcets is identified as [RTR] (unspecified for primary or secondary status). The anchor for [RTR] in both languages is the NUC. Co-occurring secondary-[DOR] and secondary-[RTR] are identified as the harmonic features of uvularisation harmony. In both languages, the anchor for these co-occurring features is the root node. An Optimality Theory account of the two harmonies in each language is developed, in which Correspondence, Alignment, and Grounded Constraints have central roles. Constraint reranking is shown to yield the observed crosslinguistic variation in the harmonies. In the course of this examination, issues regarding the consonantal and vocalic inventories of Palestinian and St'at'imcets are adressed. It is argued that each has a more elaborate vocalic system than previously recognised, and that St'at'imcets, like Palestinian, has a set of underlying emphatic consonants.

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