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Most languages with labial-velar stops (i.e. // and //) have both the voiced and voiceless versions, but several dozen languages have only // or only //. Examination of the stop inventories of such languages reveals that in languages which have only // there are always other gaps in the stop inventory, but languages which have only // usually have a full set of other stops, showing that there is a different historical mechanism involved. Also, ‘//-only’ languages are more common than ‘//-only’ languages, despite the cross-linguistic tendency to favour voiceless stops. Comparative studies show that ‘//-only’ languages are often a result of a merger of * and * into //. I propose that this merger is a result of three phonetic characteristics of the phonologically voiceless //, qualities typical of voiced obstruents. Since * is already partly in the ‘voiced camp’, I hypothesise that hearers interpret it as voiced.
The study reported here uses articulatory data to investigate Korean place assimilation of coronal stops followed by labial or velar stops, both within words and across words. The results show that this place-assimilation process is highly variable, both within and across speakers, and is also sensitive to factors such as the place of articulation of the following consonant, the presence of a word boundary and, to some extent, speech rate. Gestures affected by the process are generally reduced categorically (deleted), while sporadic gradient reduction of gestures is also observed. We further compare the results for coronals to our previous findings on the assimilation of labials, discussing implications of the results for grammatical models of phonological/phonetic competence. The results suggest that speakers' language-particular knowledge of place assimilation has to be relatively detailed and context-sensitive, and has to encode systematic regularities about its obligatory/variable application as well as categorical/gradient realisation.
Looking at data from Polish and Ukrainian, this paper addresses the problem of positional faithfulness, in particular onset faithfulness. It is argued that onset faithfulness in its current understanding makes wrong predictions, because it extends the status of privilege to any consonant in the onset. The correct theory is more restrictive and treats as special only the segments that stand before a vowel: prevocalic faithfulness. A further restriction is that the vowel must constitute a syllable nucleus. In effect, then, prevocalic faithfulness refers to onsets, but restricts them to the segment directly before the nucleus.
This article examines the calling contour (CC) in Hungarian and systematically compares its formal properties with those of its English counterpart. After a critical survey of the literature on the English CC, it carries out a phonological analysis of the Hungarian CC, offering a plausible representation based on that analysis. This contains a H pitch accent (H*) and a downstepped H phrase tone (!H-), corresponding to the first and second terrace of the CC respectively. Other apparent possibilities, viz. that the second H tone is a trailing tone or a boundary tone, are rejected. When the Hungarian CC is utterance-final, it coincides with the final portion of an intonational phrase and needs a boundary tone. It is argued that this boundary tone is neither H% nor L but 0% (H* !H-0%). Hungarian utterances can also contain utterance-internal CCs. These can be analysed as being intermediate phrases, lacking a final boundary tone.
Coronal harmony in Kinyarwanda causes alveolar fricatives to become postalveolar preceding a postalveolar fricative within a stem. Alveolar and postalveolar stops, affricates and palatals block coronal harmony, but the flap and non-coronal consonants are reported to be transparent. Kinematic data on consonant production in Kinyarwanda were collected using electromagnetic articulography. The mean angle for the line defined by receivers placed on the tongue tip and blade was calculated over the consonant intervals. Mean angle reliably distinguished alveolar and postalveolar fricatives, with alveolars showing a lower tip relative to blade. Mean angle during transparent non-coronal consonants showed a higher tip relative to blade than in contexts without harmony, and the mean angle during transparent [m] was not significantly different than during postalveolar fricatives. This is consistent with a model where Kinyarwanda coronal harmony extends a continuous tip-blade gesture, causing it to be present during ‘transparent’ segments, but without perceptible effect.