UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Two aspects of Sliammon phonology: Glide/Obstruent alternation and vowel length Blake, Susan J.


This thesis examines two specific aspects of Sliammon phonology: the nature of the glide/obstruent alternation and the issue of phonemic vowel length. In this thesis an analysis of these issues is presented within a non-linear framework, adopting as a point of departure the model of feature geometry proposed by McCarthy (1988). Other theoretical components of the analysis include Mora Theory as proposed by Hayes (1989), and Under specification Theory. In Chapter 2 it is argued that Glide/Obstruent Alternation is a phonological process which is sensitive not only to syllable structure but also to the moraic affiliation of the segment in question. Specifically, deletion of the feature [-continuant] targets any [sonorant][high] segment in moraic position. By adopting underlying representations (UR) which are underspecified and hierarchically organized, it is possible to avoid problems associated with previous analyses of these facts. This thesis also motivates an amendment to the feature geometry such that the feature [sonorant] is dependent on the root node rather than being an integral part of that node. In Chapter 3 it is argued that vowel length in Sliammon is not distinctive but rather that vowel length is derived. It is derived by a process essentially equivalent to Compensatory Lengthening (CL). Further the Sliammon facts support Hayes's (1989) hypothesis that "it is the moraic structure of the language and not its vowel inventory that determines whether CL may occur". It is proposed that further study of languages which permit bimoraic syllables will confirm this hypothesis.

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