The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 5/14 - Koichi Tateishi (Kobe College/MIT)

Speaker: Koichi Tateishi (Kobe College/MIT)
Title: Trimoraicity and Monomoraicity: Cases in Japanese
Date/Time: Monday, May 14, 2018, 5:00-6:30pm
Location: 32-D831

This presentation is about Japanese syllables, which appear to be one of the best-studied areas in phonology, starting from McCawley (1968) and traditional Japanese linguistics papers preceding it. I will point out that /N/, a moraic nasal, which is never a nuclear component of a syllable and hence can never be accented according to McCawley and later works, actually stands out as an independent syllabic nucleus at some morphological peripheries. This syllabic /N/ can be accent-bearing and can undergo Initial Lowering, another signatory tonal phenomenon that is typically observed only with a syllabic nucleus. The presentation also points out that the syllabic /N/ is only for the borrowings and mimetics, while we find an independent phenomenon in the Yamato (native Japanese) stratum that derives a string that appears to derive a syllabic /Q/, moraic obstruent, and that this constitutes a counterargument to Ito and Mester’s (1995) strata-dependent reranking hypothesis.