New book: Spanish Historical Phonology

Fri Jun 22 12:49:04 UTC 2001

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Vowel Raising in Spanish Historical Phonology:
A feature geometry analyis
Lucma I. Llorente
Berry College

This work  addresses the raising effect that a palatal glide had upon
the stressed vowel of the preceding syllable, a process which happened
in the development from Late Latin to Old Spanish. This effect is
particularly visible in the lack of diphthongization of mid-open
stressed vowels, which, under normal conditions, would undergo a process
of diphthongization. All Late Latin vowels, however, except for the
highest ones, undergo raising one degree. This "irregular" development
of vowels has been traditionally linked to the presence of a palatal
glide in the environment, and this study follows the traditional
analysis, but tries to integrate it within the recent phonological
framework of Feature Geometry, which has been proved to be an ideal
model to describe assimilation processes. In particular, it follows
Jung's (1991) hierarchical representation, focusing on the structure of
the place node. In order to describe vowels, Jung makes use of the
standard features [high], [low], and [ATR], placing them under what he
calls the "vertical" node.

When analyzing the raising process using the tools provided by Jung's
work, two processes are possited. On the one hand, the lack of
diphthongization of mid-open stressed vowels is attributed to the
spreading of the feature [+ATR] from the glide onto the preceding
stressed vowel. On the other, in order to explain the raising undergone
by /e/ and /o/ on some occasions the notion of parasitic harmony (as
described in Cole (1991)) is used. The feature that is considered to be
under assimilation in this case is [+high], but the process only happens
when the trigger (the glide) and the target (the preceding vowel) share
a contextual feature, which, in the present case, is the specification
for [+ATR]. This second process is sometimes blocked, because the
intervening consonants are specified for the feature [+high], which is
the one being spread. In order to explain the behavior of /a/ in the
presence of the palatal glide, the notion of strict adjacency is brought
into the picture. Only in this situation does /a/ undergo raising.

ISBN 3 89586 441 2.
LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 25.
Ca. 220pp. USD 70 / DM 128 / #44.

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