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Title:Aspects of Pit River Phonology
Authors:Bruce E. Nevin
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Abstract:Aspects of Pit River Phonology

Bruce E. Nevin

Dissertation Advisor: Eugene Buckley

Until recently, it has seemed that the Pit River language ("Achumawi") was

reasonably well documented by de Angulo & Freeland (1930), Uldall (1933),

and Olmsted (1956, 1957, 1959, 1964, 1966). My own fieldwork in 1970-74

disclosed fundamental inadequacies of these publications, as reported in

Nevin (1991). We substantiate this finding, investigate its probable bases,

and establish why my own data are not subject to the same difficulties.

This may be taken as a cautionary tale about the perils of restating a

published grammar. We define a phonemic representation for utterances in

the language. We then introduce Optimality Theory (OT), which we apply to a

series of problems in the phonological patterning of the language: features

of syllable codas, restrictions and alternations involving voiceless

release and aspiration, and reduplicative morphology. Appendix A describes

the physiology and phonetics of laryngeal phenomena in Pit River,

especially epiglottal articulation that has in the past been improperly

described as pharyngeal or involving the tongue radix (the feature RTR).

Appendix B discusses certain ramifications of aperture features for the

sonority hierarchy.
Article:Version 1