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Title:The Consonants of Gosiute
Authors:Dirk Elzinga
Abstract:This dissertation is an analysis of the consonantal phonology of Gosiute,

a member of the Numic group of Uto-Aztecan languages. The Numic languages

are characterized by consonant alternations and distributional patterns

which are rooted in patterns of phonetic naturalness. In this dissertation

I provide an analysis of these patterns of distribution and alternation

within the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993).

This dissertation accomplishes three things. First, it provides the most

detailed treatment to date of the consonant system of a Numic language.

Second, it demonstrates the efficacy of Grounding Theory (Archangeli and

Pulleyblank 1994) in the analysis of the consonantal patterns under

investigation. Third, it shows that Optimality Theory is up to the task

of providing a framework for the analysis of large portions of the

phonological system of a single language.

Chapter 1 situates Gosiute within the Uto-Aztecan language family and

provides an overview of the consonant alternations found Gosiute (known

in the Uto-Aztecan literature as Spirantization, Gemination, Nasalization,

and Aspiration). I provide an overview of Optimality Theory and the

Grounding Hypothesis (Archangeli and Pulleyblank 1994) and outline the

organization of the dissertation.

In chapter 2 I discuss the distribution of continuancy and voicing in

obstruents in Gosiute. Voiced obstruents occur intervocalically or

following nasals, voiceless ones occur elsewhere. Likewise, continuants

occur intervocalically while stops occur elsewhere. These simple facts,

which underlie the system of Gosiute consonant gradation, are readily

described and explained by positional grounding interacting with

context-free grounding and faithfulness requirements.

In chapter 3 I provide an introduction to the analysis of final features

in Gosiute. I discuss the distributional properties of final features and

examine Gemination in some detail. I show that there are arguments for

considering final features to be full segments rather than floating

features or "latent segments" (Zoll 1996). The argument for Gemination

consists in the featural content of the final feature itself. I propose

that Gemination consists of a root node specified [+consonantal] since

its effects are restricted to consonants.

In chapter 4 and 5 I give accounts of Nasalization and Aspiration in

Gosiute. Like Gemination, I argue that these final features are best

considered full segments rather than latent segments. The argument for

segmental status of these final features comes from their interaction

with the accusative suffix -a.

Chapter 6 is an examination of coronal alternations in Gosiute. Coronal

obstruents are found in distributional patterns which depend on the

presence or absence of a preceding front vowel. In the pattern I call

Fronting, alveolar stops alternate with dental stops--dental stops occur

following front vowels, while alveolar stops occur elsewhere. In the

pattern I call Palatalization, dental affricates alternate with palato-

alveolar affricates--palato-alveolar affricates occur following front

vowels, while dental affricates occur elsewhere. I argue that the

change in place of articulation involved in Fronting is a result of the

greater surface area of the tongue in contact with the roof of the mouth.

This alternation thus reduces to an alternation between laminals and

apicals, with laminals following front vowels and apicals occurring

elsewhere. Palatalization, on the other hand, is a change in stridency;

dental affricates are non-strident, while palato-alveolar affricates are

strident. Gosiute Fronting and Palatalization can thus be seen as a two

step chain shift: alveolar > dental > palato-alveolar. To capture the

chain shift of the Gosiute alternations requires the Local Conjunction

of constraints (Smolensky 1995, Kirchner 1996). Viewing the alternations

in this way confirms their relationship to each other--a relationship

suggested by the identity of their triggering environments--and provides

another argument in favor of the Local Conjunction of constraints as

part of the toolbox of Universal Grammar.

Chapter 7 offers some concluding remarks on theoretical implications

of the Gosiute data and their analysis in the areas of Grounding,

Richness of the Base, and the role of representations in OT.
Article:Part 1
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