[Lingtyp] Integration of postposed vowel-initial vs consonant-initial morphemes

Hiroto Uchihara uchihara at buffalo.edu
Thu Aug 27 17:09:58 UTC 2020

Hi Adam,

Yes you are right, determining syllable boundaries has always been
challenging. In this case, syllabification is based on speaker intuition,
which is also corroborated with some phonological processes which are
sensitive to the syllable structure. Thus, in Teotitlán Zapotec a rising
tone is not preferred on an open syllable, so when a C-final stem is
followed by a V-initial suffix, the stem-final C is now resyllabified as
the onset of the syllable of the suffix, and thus the risign tone is split
into a mid tone on the stem and falling tone on the suffix:

(1)  kwǎ:ʧ 'twin' + DIM -i'n >  kwāʧî’n

When a C-final stem is followed by a V-initial enclitic, then the rising
tone is split into mid and high tone, which shows that the stem final C now
is parsed as the onset of the syllable with =u.

(2) ri-gǐ:b 'sew' + 2sg =u > ri-gī:bú

Neither syllabification nor rising tone split is observed between prosodic

(3) gǎk 'will be' i:z 'year' > gǎk i:z (*gā.kî:z)

I also used these criteria (speaker intuition and phonological processes)
as well as the Maximal Onset Principle to determine the syllable boundaries
in Oklahoma Cherokee.


El jue., 27 de ago. de 2020 a la(s) 09:57, Adam James Ross Tallman (
ajrtallman at utexas.edu) escribió:

> Hey Hiroto,
> There's another example from Chacobo. When the first person singular
> appears after the nonpast declarative marker it reduces from *-ɨa *to
> *-a.*
> tsaya=ki=(ɨ)a
> see=dec:nonpast=1sg
> 'I see him/her/them.'
> It does not surface as *ɨa* in slow speech, so it seems to be
> categorical. It's as Mark was remarking, however. It is not a general rule.
> What I wonder here, at least in the case of "syllabification", how you
> really know that what you are observing is categorical or even real at all.
> Isn't it the case that you would need some phonetic criterion for
> identifying syllable boundaries? Do you have one? I've had this problem in
> trying to measure tone levels in naturalistic speech where it is very
> difficult to always see syllable boundaries at many vowel-vowel junctures
> in Praat.
> best,
> Adam
> On Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 2:31 AM Hiroto Uchihara <uchihara at buffalo.edu>
> wrote:
>> Dear all,
>> I'm aware of the asymmetry between the preposed and postposed morphemes
>> in terms of their integration into the prosodic constituent with the stem
>> (Himmelman 2014; Asao 2015), but is anyone aware of the difference in the
>> level of integration between the vowel-initial vs consonant-initial
>> postposed morphemes (suffixes or enclitics)?
>> I have been observing that this might be the case in a couple of
>> languages, including Teotitlán Zapotec and Alcozauca Mixtec. For instance
>> in Teotitlán Zapotec, vowel-initial enclitics are clearly within the domain
>> of syllabification, while consonant-initial enclitics are not. In Alcozauca
>> Mixtec, it might be the case that vowel-initial enclitics are incorporated
>> into the prosodic word, while consonant-initial enclitics are not. Is this
>> something commonly reported in the literature?
>> I would appreciate any insights.
>> Best regards,
>> Hiroto
>> Asao, Yoshihiko. 2015. *Left-Right Asymmetries in Words: A
>> Processing-Based Account*. Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY Buffalo
>> Himmelmann, Nikolaus. 2014. Asymmetries in the prosodic phrasing of
>> function words: Another look at the suffixing preference. *Language*
>> 90(4). 927–960.
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> --
> Adam J.R. Tallman
> PhD, University of Texas at Austin
> Investigador del Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, la Paz
> ELDP -- Postdoctorante
> CNRS -- Dynamique Du Langage (UMR 5596)
> _______________________________________________
> Lingtyp mailing list
> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
> http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp

Dr. Hiroto Uchihara
Seminario de Lenguas Indígenas
Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Circuito Mario de la Cueva
Ciudad Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México.
Tel. Seminario:(+52)-(55)-5622-7489
Office: (+52)-(55)-5622-7250, Ext. 49223
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