7.1172, Sum: Final consonants

The Linguist List linguist at tam2000.tamu.edu
Mon Aug 19 14:35:12 UTC 1996

LINGUIST List:  Vol-7-1172. Mon Aug 19 1996. ISSN: 1068-4875. Lines:  98
Subject: 7.1172, Sum: Final consonants
Moderators: Anthony Rodrigues Aristar: Texas A&M U. <aristar at tam2000.tamu.edu>
            Helen Dry: Eastern Michigan U. <hdry at emunix.emich.edu> (On Leave)
            T. Daniel Seely: Eastern Michigan U. <dseely at emunix.emich.edu>
Associate Editor:  Ljuba Veselinova <lveselin at emunix.emich.edu>
Assistant Editors: Ron Reck <rreck at emunix.emich.edu>
                   Ann Dizdar <dizdar at tam2000.tamu.edu>
                   Annemarie Valdez <avaldez at emunix.emich.edu>
Software development: John H. Remmers <remmers at emunix.emich.edu>
Editor for this issue: dizdar at tam2000.tamu.edu (Ann Dizdar)
Date:  Mon, 19 Aug 1996 14:47:22 -0000
From:  cpeust at gwdg.de
Subject:  Sum: final consonants
Date:  Mon, 19 Aug 1996 14:47:22 -0000
From:  cpeust at gwdg.de
Subject:  Sum: final consonants
On the 5th of August, I posted the following query on Linguist List:
Dear linguists,
many languages in the world admit only vowels at the end of a word
(and at the end of a syllable as well): Japanese, Italian, most or all
Bantu languages, proto-Slavic etc.etc.  Does anyone of you know
whether there are languages in which all words and/or syllables must
end in a consonant?  I will be thankful four your help. If enough
answers come in, I will provide a summary.
There were many responses. Here is a list of the contributers. Thanks
a lot to all of you:
John Atkinson                johna at tiny.me.su.oz.au
Steven Berbeco            sberbeco at isl.uit.no
Richard DeArmond       dearmond at sfu.ca
Jakob Dempsey            ufjakobq at ms5.hinet.net
Ivan A Derzhanski         iad at banmatpc.math.acad.bg
Bruce Despain             BDDespain at chq.byu.edu
Osamu Fujimura           osamu at hip.atr.co.jp
Philip Hamilton             phamilto at chass.utoronto.ca
Ronald Kephart            rkephart at osprey.unf.edu
Waruno Mahdi              waruno at fritz-haber-institut.mpg.de
Tivoli Majors                tivoli at mail.utexas.edu
Mike Maxwell              Mike_Maxwell at sil.org
Adriano P. Palma                    palmaa at phil.indiana.edu
Robert Petterson                 RPetterson at ipc.ac.nz
Ori Pomerantz              orip at netvision.net.il
Larry Trask                 larryt at cogs.susx.ac.uk
Allan Weschler            awechsle at bbn.com
Several people informed me that the statements I made on Italian and
Japanese are not quite correct.  The answers were quite
heterogeneous. While most contributers agreed that languages not
allowing for words ending in a vowel are rare, improbable,
non-existent, counter-intuitive or similar, some argued that,
depending on the phonological framework, a restriction of this kind
need not necessarily be problematic.  Osamu Fujimura has developed a
phonological framework which implies that in languages like English
and Swedish all syllables have a consonantic coda. He assumes, e.g.,
that all tense vowels should be analysed as sequences vowel + glide.
This is even clearer for some non-rhotic English dialects where, e.g.
words ending in /a:/ (California) take in intrusive /r/ whenever
followed by a vowel-initial word. So we might assume that /ar/ rather
than /a:/ is the representation in deep structure (Robert Petterson).
Some people pointed to languages that lack word final vowels even on
the surface structure. These are: Several West-Indonesian languages,
among them Sundanese (Waruno Mahdi). It is due to the fact that all
words seemingly ending in a vowel are spoken with a following glottal
stop. So the question would be what the phonological status is like.
Other such languages I got hints to were Yapese, Temiar, Shuar (a
Jivaroan language of Ecuador), Tagalog, Makassarese and languages on
Cape York, Australia, and certain reconstructions of Old Chinese.  In
Oykangand, an Australian language that Philip Hamilton is doing
fieldwork on, words are strictly consonant-final and vocal-initial.
Carsten Peust
Seminar of Egyptology and Coptology
cpeust at gwdu20.gwdg.de or cpeust at gwdg.de
LINGUIST List: Vol-7-1172.

More information about the Linguist mailing list