The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Ling Lunch - 5/14 - Kirill Shklovsky

Speaker: Kirill Shklovsky
Title: Syntactically-Conditioned Phonology: The Case of Tseltal Vowel Hiatus Resolution
Time: Thurs 5/14, 12:30-1:45
Place: 32-D461

Tseltal, a Mayan language of southern Mexico, has a strict prohibition against vowel hiatus: all vowel hiatus must be resolved either by deleting one of the vowels or epenthesizing a consonant. The choice of the strategy is not predictable from the nature or quality of the vowels involved. In this talk I will argue that the choice of the hiatus resolution strategy can be accounted for by making recourse to syntactic structure; specifically to the presence or absence of strong phase boundaries between the vowels in hiatus. Building on the work of Marvin 2003, Piggott and Newell 2006, and Michaels 2008 I will propose a set of constraints that favor greater faithfulness to material spelled out in an earlier phase to account for the choice of Tseltal vowel hiatus resolution strategy.