LINGUIST List 15.2566

Wed Sep 15 2004

Diss: Phonology: Levi: 'The Representation...'

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  1. svlevi, The Representation of Underlying Glides: a Cross-linguistic Study

Message 1: The Representation of Underlying Glides: a Cross-linguistic Study

Date: Tue, 14 Sep 2004 14:01:21 -0400 (EDT)
From: svlevi <>
Subject: The Representation of Underlying Glides: a Cross-linguistic Study

Institution: University of Washington at Seattle
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Susannah V. Levi 

Dissertation Title: The Representation of Underlying Glides: a
cross-linguistic study

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field: Phonology

Dissertation Director 1: Ellen M. Kaisse

Dissertation Abstract: 

This dissertation examines languages with underlying glides and
provides a cross-linguistic representation of these segments. Glides
pose a problem to theories of features and natural classes by variably
patterning with vowels or consonants. I maintain that the reason for
their varied behavior lies in their phonemic status, or lack thereof.
Phonemic (or underlying) glides pattern with consonants in a variety
of phonological processes. Derived glides, on the other hand, are
realizations of underlying vowels and pattern with them.

The major contributions of this dissertation are (1) to prove that
underlying glides do exist, (2) to provide a cross-linguistic
representation for these segments that crucially distinguishes them
from other similar segments (e.g. vowels), (3) to present a typology
of mappings from underlying to surface vocoids, and (4) to provide a
set of criteria that can be used to establish the existence of
underlying glides.

I show that the following nine languages have underlying glides:
Imdlawn Tashlhiyt Berber (Afro-Asiatic), Cree (Algonquian), Karuk
(Hokan), Sundanese (Austronesian), Yawelmani (Yokuts), Tahltan
(Athabaskan), Pulaar (Niger-Congo), Turkish (Altaic), and Pashto
(Indo-Iranian). The criteria for determining the phonemic status of
glides in these languages comes from (1) transparency to vowel
harmony, (2) triggering of consonant harmony, (3) necessity of vowel
epenthesis in unsyllabifiable clusters which include glides, (4)
expected and unexpected syllabification of vocoids, (5) reverse
sonority clusters, (6) blockage of nasal harmony, and (7) consonant

I compare four representations for underlying glides. The first
employs a lexical marking (LEX) which forces some underlying vocoids
into non-syllabic positions. The second representation uses the
feature [consonantal] to distinguish underlying vowels from underlying
glides (CONS). This has been the most widely used method. However,
both LEX and CONS fail to distinguish underlying from derived glides
in processes which refer to distinctive features.

Finally, I compare two feature geometries. The first segregates vowel
and consonant place features on two different tiers (Vowel-Place
Theory). The second uses only a single tier of place features and the
markedness theory developed in Calabrese 1995 (Revised Articulator
Theory (RAT)). When confronted with a variety of evidence, RAT fares
better than Vowel-Place Theory.
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