P-interest: Calder, Bowman

Jeremy and Sam are giving LSA practice talks this week at 12:15 in 460-126 (Greenberg).

Theories of syllabification in Nuxalk: hints from text-setting (short talk)
Jeremy Calder

The liberal clustering of consonants in Nuxalk has ignited a variety of syllabification hypotheses, some allowing obstruent-only syllables. Text-setting references the inherent prosodic structure of a language. This study examines six Nuxalk songs, comparing the language’s behavior in music to the parses generated by various syllabification hypotheses. The absence of obstruent-only rhythmic units in these songs shows that hypotheses allowing obstruent-only syllables are incongruent with the rhythmic behavior displayed by the language in music.

Seto vowel harmony and neutral vowels (poster spiel)
Sam Bowman

Seto (Finno-Ugric, Estonia) displays a novel variety of vowel harmony for backness: It provides for non-participating neutral vowels (transparent [i] and word-initial [e], and opaque [o]), and in particular, it does so while also allowing segments in the inventory ([ɨ], [ɤ], and [ø], respectively) which differ from these neutral vowels only in backness. This later observation in particular precludes any analysis based on neutralization, and seriously complicates analysis under any major framework for harmony. I show in this talk that Kimper’s new Competing Triggers approach, set in a cyclic grammar, can account for the Seto data.