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LINGUIST List 17.539

Sat Feb 18 2006

Diss: Phonology: Balogne Berces: 'Strict CV Phonolog...'

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        1.    Katalin Balogné Bérces, Strict CV Phonology and the English Cross-Word Puzzle

Message 1: Strict CV Phonology and the English Cross-Word Puzzle
Date: 15-Feb-2006
From: Katalin Balogné Bérces <bbkatiyahoo.com>
Subject: Strict CV Phonology and the English Cross-Word Puzzle

Institution: ELTE University (Budapest)
Program: English Linguistics PhD Programme
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Katalin Balogné Bérces

Dissertation Title: Strict CV Phonology and the English Cross-Word Puzzle

Dissertation URL: http://www.geocities.com/bbkati/diss

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Dissertation Director:
Miklós Törkenczy

Dissertation Abstract:

The main objective of the thesis is to show how a phonological framework equipped with empty skeletal positions is capable of analysing cross-word phenomena. The major illustration comes from English t-allophony, exhibiting a variation between aspirated, tapped and glottalized realizations, whose distribution is introduced in considerable detail.

The thesis argues that Government Phonology (GP), more specifically its subbranch dubbed Strict CV phonology, is adequate for serving as the theoretical background, although various analyses counched in GP (especially Standard GP) have made contradictory claims or resorted to controversial mechanisms (e.g., violations of the so-called Projection Principle). The thesis aims to present an account of English t-allophony which avoids such contradictions. It subscribes to the view that two antagonistic forces, government and licensing, determine the strength of phonological positions; namely, licensing supports the segmental expression of its target, whereas government spoils its inherent properties. It is proposed that vowel-to-consonant government is best conceived of as taking
place between the melodies of the participating segments. This way the empty skeletal positions signalling the division of words cause government to operate differently within and across words.

Besides opting for a skeleton made up of strictly alternating C and V positions, the thesis brings a number of arguments for partitioning the skeleton into CV rather than VC units. Such a prosodic structure, 'armed with' an empty CV-span as the boundary-marker present at the left edge of words, makes such predictions concerning the cross-linguistic distribution of consonant clusters and external sandhi phenomena that are supported by data from various languages. In addition, extensive space is devoted to the discussion of the language typology brought about by the presence or absence of boundary-markers both at the beginning and the end of the word.

The thesis also argues that, besides the distinction between strong and weak phonological positions, a further dichotomy of weak and semi-weak positions is justified in English, manifesting itself in consonant lenition as well as vowel reduction and syncope. In Strict CV phonology, then, a licensed position is strong, a governed position is weak, and one which is both licensed and governed is semi-weak.

Finally, the thesis investigates the behaviour of onsetless syllables, and concludes that the fact that cross-linguistically they are evaluated separately when word-initial and when medial, falls out naturally from the representations of Strict CV phonology.

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