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The Even Yearbook 4 (2000)

ELTE SEAS Working Papers in Linguistics

Cser, Kristó, Marosán, Newson, Siptár, Szigetvári, Varga, Wenszky

cover illustration Front and back cover, front material (pp. i--viii, 194--198): ps / pdf

András Cser
Phonological models of sonority
pp. 1--18
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Sonority is one of those central notions of phonological theory that are inevitably referred to in the analysis and discussion of various problems but are, at the same time, basically ill-defined, with an unknown basis somewhere in the vocalisation makeup or the phonological design of natural language. The purpose of this paper is to survey the phonological models that have been proposed and to evaluate them without, of course, pretending to be able to give decisive judgements. We readily admit that we have no adequate solution to the phonological modelling of sonority; however, we do not find this worrying, since we are not at all convinced that sonority actually has to be modelled in the phonology. It may well be that sonority has a solid phonetic basis whose outlines are not yet quite clear to us -- discussion of this question remains for others. In this paper we first say a few words about sonority and point to a couple of very general problems related to it, then list briefly the phonological phenomena that involve sonority, finally we expatiate upon eight models proposed by adherents of various theories.

László Kristó
Palatality Harmony in Proto-Slavonic
pp. 19--37
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The paper discusses one of the most salient features of Slavonic history, which I call Palatality Harmony (PH). This constraint manifests itself in two processes: first, velar consonants are palatalized before front vowels; second, back vowels are fronted after (alveo-)palatal consonants. There are, however, apparent exceptions to PH, the most important of which is that high back rounded vowels fail to be fronted after (alveo-)palatal consonants. In this essay, I analyze PH in terms of Licensing and Structure Preservation, adopting the view of Government Phonology on the internal makeup of segments. Providing an appropriate ranking of constraints, I account for the apparent irregularities, showing that they follow from PH constraints being lower ranked than other principles (most notably, Structure Preservation). In the final section of the paper, I discuss the controversial status of PH as a synchronic regularity in Late Proto-Slavonic.

Lajos Marosán
Meaning and word classes
pp. 39--82
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There have been two opinions relating to the semantic properties of the parts of speech. The older, which dates back to the earliest linguistic investigations, claims that word classes as such have some meaning; (the term meaning -- it seems -- should be taken in an intuitive pre-theoretical sense). This view has received some attention in the past two millenia and there have been sporadic attempts at articulating a theory of word classes in which the meaning of the parts of speech plays an important role. The other opinion, which is far more recent and less articulated, asserts that word classes only have structural or grammatical meaning and this is very much like grammatical categories, such as case, tense, aspect &c. This view contrasts lexical to structural meaning. (For instance, Fries (1952) introduces these terms without an explanation. In general, descriptivists (cf. Hockett, Gleason) deny that the parts of speech may have any semantic properties.) A word form taken out of context, therefore, can be analysed as an entity complete with lexical and grammatical meaning. The examination of lexical meaning falls within the province of linguistic semantics while the explication of the latter, that is, grammatical meaning, remains undeveloped. In the following pages I wish to show that the claim for the meaning of word classes leads to contradictions and, therefore, one might adopt the more current view about the parts of speech.

Mark Newson
The war of the left periphery
pp. 83--106
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This paper deals with 'left edge' phenomena in Hungarian VPs and clauses. It is shown that a number of elements compete with each other for the privilege of sitting at the left edge of certain domains. Some always win while others are easy loosers. Some win in some cases, but not in others. This shows itself in terms of a complex pattern of complementary distribution between these elements. The paper attempts to capture these patterns using a number of alignment constraints, organised within the general framework of Optimality Theory. We show that some left edge phenomena can be accounted for by such constraints while others cannot. The relevant feature of alignments is that they place a number of elements in competition for a single position and hence phenomena involving the stacking of elements at an edge cannot be looked upon as alignment triggered. It then turns out that the complex interaction between alignment and non-alignment constraints is able to capture the complex distributional patterns observed.

Péter Siptár
Degemination in Hungarian
pp. 107--115
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The traditional insight concerning Hungarian degemination is that geminates do not occur in this language (i) word initially, or (ii) flanked by another consonant on either side. In other words, the occurrence of geminates is only possible (i) intervocalically (e.g., állat `animal', áll-ok `I stand', áll Attila `Attila stands') and (ii) utterance finally (i.e., before a pause) if preceded by a vowel (e.g., áll `stand'). The latter type is degeminated, however, if a consonant follows, irrespective of whether that consonant comes from synthetic (or Level I) suffixation (e.g., áll-t `he/she stood', áll-tam `I stood'), analytic (or Level II) suffixation (e.g., áll-hat `may stand'), compounding (áll-kapocs `jawbone') or even from a different word (áll Tamás `Tom stands'). However, this traditional view is oversimplified and has to be revised, to be at least observationally adequate, in various ways. This revision (as well as an analysis of the issue of degemination) is the topic of the present paper.

Péter Szigetvári
pp. 117--152
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One of the most important achievements of modern linguistics is the discovery of the use of emptiness. Its relevance can be likened to that of the concept of zero, without which it is hard to imagine the progress natural sciences have made in the last few centuries. One aim of the paper is to convince the reader that empty positions in the phonological skeleton are not merely a tricky device to ease the analysis, but rather a logical conclusion of various different lines of thought pursued by theorists of modern phonology. Once one accepts the possibility of empty skeletal positions it is fairly obvious that they must be exploited. The evident use of the idea is that syllable structure can be radically simplified if we are not obliged to take surface adjacency in phonological strings to be an unrefutable symptom of adjacency in the underlying representation as well. In the second part of this paper I argue for the radically reduced syllable constituency proposed by Lowenstamm (1996) and advocated by his students. The skeleton can be likened to a binary system, each skeletal string contains strictly alternating consonantal and vocalic positions.

László Varga
Approaches to Rhythmical Variation in English
pp. 153--178
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The article reviews and critically evaluates the most influential schools analysing English rhythmical variation of the 'thirteen 'men and 'just thir'teen type in the past 20 years or so, paying special attention to Liberman & Prince's tree-and-grid-based model (1977), Selkirk's pure grid model (1984), Hayes' tree-and-grid model (1984), and Gussenhoven's accent-based model (1991). The conclusion is that both kinds of variation can be analysed uniformly in Gussenhoven's framework, and that they are postlexical phenomena, possibly belonging to the P1 stratum of postlexical phonology, in the sense of Kaisse (1990).

Nóra Wenszky
Halle's recent views on primary word stress
pp. 179--193
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This article examines the rule-system generating primary word stress, which was presented in Halle (1998) The Stress of English Words 1968--1998. After a short introduction and the clarification of some basic concepts, the rules are presented and tested on words that exhibit typical stress patterns. Halle's treatment of CVC syllables is found to be ambiguous and the large number of exceptions might question that edge-marking is the default case. The article investigates the possibility that the lack of edge-marking is the norm and finds that the system is not improved by this change considerably. It is pointed out, however, that the number of exceptions can be reduced by encoding syntactic information into the rules.

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edited by <peter.szigetvari@elte.hu>
contents last touched Sun Dec 10 10:16:21 CET 2006