Siouan stops

lcumberl at lcumberl at
Tue Nov 16 04:31:50 UTC 2004

Quoting David Kaufman <dvklinguist2003 at>:

> Hi,
> Do Siouan languages typically have both aspirated and non-aspirated stops?
> I'm asking because of the lenition situation in Biloxi, which Dorsey is
> representing with a dot under the stop.  (There were a couple of emails that
> floated back and forth about this earlier.)  I'm wondering what the situation
> is in other Siouan languages for comparison.
> Thanks,
> Dave

Dakotan languages do, but in Assiniboine there is a broadly applied rule that
voices simple stops intervocalically across both syllable and word boundaries so
that the simple stops (and the affricate) surface as voiced at least 90% of the
time. You will sometimes find Asb characterized as having a contrast of voiced
vs. voiceless-aspirated stops (e.g., Hollow 1970), and voiced segments are used
exclusively for simple unaspirated stops in some popular orthographies, but a
spectrographic study I did a couple years ago (and reported on at the Siouan
conference at Anadarko) indicated that Asb stops in fact have a [+/- asp]
contrast with voiced allophones for the voiceless-unaspirated stops, but because
of the voicing rule, the voiceless-unaspirated segments almost never surface
(except in clusters).

Performance affects pronunciation, so that a pause for any reason right before a
simple stop - for phrasing, coughing, you name it - will allow a voiceless
segment to surface. This is why you see Asb texts recorded by people like
Deloria and Lowie waffling between voiced and voiceless stops.  Deloria's "Notes
on the Assiniboine" is peppered with cross-outs where she has typed one and then
on second thought gone back and hand-written the other.


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