The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 11/2 - Hanzhi Zhu

Speaker: Hanzhi Zhu (MIT)
Title: The Syllable Contact Law in Kyrgyz
Date: Tuesday, November 2nd
Time: 5-6:30
Place: 32-D831

Kyrgyz (Turkic) has been described as a language which abides by the Syllable Contact Law by requiring a drop in sonority (Gouskova 2004). For example, /aj+nɨ/ is realized as [ajdɨ], with n desonorizing to d, with *jn having a sonority drop too small to be permitted. Partly motivated by this observation, Gouskova proposes a relational constraint hierarchy based on sonority distance between C1 and C2 alone. However, a closer look at the data leads to a more complicated picture, revealing that an approach based solely on the sonority distance between two segments cannot work. Although glide-nasal (*jn) sequences are prohibited, glide-lateral (jl) sequences are permitted, despite having an even smaller sonority drop. In this talk, I will motivate the need for an alternative account to SyllCon in languages which resolve violations via desonorization.