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Phonology, its Faces and Interfaces


Edited By Jolanta Szpyra-Kozłowska and Eugeniusz Cyran

The papers collected in this volume examine selected aspects of the interaction of phonology with phonetics, morphosyntax and the lexicon in a variety of languages including Korean, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, British English, Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Dutch and Hawaiian. In order to approach the role and ways of expressing extraphonological information in phonology, the international contributors adopt different methods of analysis (data gathering, experiments, theoretical discussions), couched in various theoretical frameworks (such as Optimality Theory and Government Phonology), which reveal both the multifarious faces and interfaces of modern phonological research.

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No diphthong, no problem (Péter Szigetvári)


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Péter Szigetvári

No diphthong, no problem

Standard descriptions of the vowel system of British English discuss three types of vowels: short vowels, long monophthongs, and diphthongs. It has been claimed earlier (e.g. by Trager and Bloch 1941), that the vowel system is much simpler, comprising only a small set of short vowels, both diphthongs and long monophthongs can and should be analyzed as vowel+consonant sequences. The paper revives this tradition, listing further evidence to support the analysis. With [l]-vocalization there remain hardly any phonotactic restrictions between the two halves of diphthongs. We find schwa epenthesis between diphthongs and liquids following them: this is common between consonants, but not between a vowel and a consonant. The context of [t]-flapping in some English accents also shows that intervocalic position is only found after a short vowel, but not after long vowels or diphthongs. A curious phonotactic gap, namely that short stressed vowels cannot be followed by a glide, also disappears if diphthongs are analyzed as just such a sequence. The paper also collects possible counterarguments for the analysis and shows why each of them is irrelevant.

1.  Introduction

“Glides only occur prevocalically in English” is a claim very often made by people teaching English phonology. There always are smart students who soon object: “what about lie or like, low or load?” It is not easy to convincingly argue that these words do not contain a word-final...

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