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Title:Buriat Syllable Weight and Head Prominence [PASC-3]
Authors:Rachel Walker
Abstract:In this paper I argue for a violable optimality-theoretic constraint

penalizing branching constituency in moras. I examine this constraint

in relation to a problem in Buriat syllable structure in which a

consonant appears in a position normally reserved for the second

vocalic member of a nucleus but does not contribute to syllable

weight. In general, the maximal constituency of a Buriat syllable is

defined by a CVVC structure, and these syllables are treated as heavy

in the stress pattern of the language. This form obeys the properties

of typical Buriat syllable structure that vowels may be long or short

(long includes diphthongs) and there are no complex onsets or codas.

Yet one case appears to be an exception to these generalizations. CVNG

(N=a velar nasal, G=a voiced velar stop) is the only syllable form in

Buriat with a final consonant cluster. Furthermore, it has two

apparently conflicting properties, namely that it is maximal in its

constituency, so CVVNG is not possible, yet it patterns as light with

respect to stress. Indeed, consonants never contribute to syllable

weight in this language. In a derivational model, the CVNG syllable

appears to require the elaborated nuclear moraic model of syllable

structure proposed by Shaw (1992, 1993); however, I show that with a

violable branching mora constraint, the facts of Buriat syllable

structure can follow under a simpler model of syllable structure. I

argue that this constraint in combination with standard syllable

structure constraints and the independently motivated notion of head

prominence can predict precisely the range of Buriat syllable forms

and their weight without making use of the nuclear moraic model.

Concluding discussion shows that the analysis proposed here has

interesting implications for both maximal constituency effects and

moraic domination of coda consonants.

Rachel Walker

University of California, Santa Cruz


Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1