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Title:The Phonetics and Phonology of Rhotic Duration Contrast and Neutralization
Authors:Travis G. Bradley
Comment:Consists of seven PDF files containing Front matter, Chapters 1 through 5, and Bibliography
Abstract:A number of the world's languages exhibit a phonological
duration-based contrast between an extra-short coronal
tap and a sustainable multiple-cycle trill. The post-SPE
generative literature has focused almost entirely on the
distribution of rhotics in Iberian Romance, and Spanish
in particular. The main empirical goal of this dissertation
is to demonstrate how Iberian Romance fits in among a
broader typology of rhotic patterns. Relevant data from
Spanish, Catalan, European Portuguese, Basque, Sebei,
Kaliai-Kove, Kairiru, Palauan, Kurdish, and Ngizim suggest
an implicational hierarchy of the form intervocalic <
word-initial < elsewhere (word-final, pre- and
postconsonantal), where rhotic duration contrast in a
given position entails contrast in positions to the left.
Further generalizations are uncovered with respect to
patterns of neutralization. The theoretical goal of this
dissertation is to develop a comprehensive analysis of
the complete rhotic duration typology.

Chapter 1 introduces the analytical framework of
phonetically-based Optimality Theory, focusing
specifically on Correspondence Theory, the Dispersion
Theory of contrast, Segmental Autonomy, and Licensing
by Cue, and then gives a preview of the proposed analysis.

Chapter 2 demonstrates how contemporary generative
accounts have consistently invoked syllable structure
and/or sonority in attempts to explain the distribution
of the tap and trill in Spanish. Data are then
presented from languages beyond Spanish in order to
show that not all aspects of the behavior of these
rhotics can be adequately captured with reference
to syllable structure alone, thereby setting the
stage for the phonetically-based Optimality-theoretic

Chapter 3 develops an account of the rhotic duration
typology, with Spanish serving as the primary example.
On this account, phonetic and phonological constraints
interact directly to determine the surface
distribution of rhotics without reference to syllable
boundaries. Since reference to syllable structure is
unnecessary, the analysis does not face the same
difficulties as existing prosodic accounts when data
beyond Spanish are taken into consideration.

Chapter 4 presents an empirical survey of languages
beyond the Iberian Romance family and documents several
heretofore unnoticed generalizations regarding the
positional neutralization of rhotic duration contrast.
These generalizations are then shown to follow
straightforwardly as a consequence of constraint
interaction under the phonetically-based OT analysis
developed in Chapter 3.

Finally, Chapter 5 treats issues of phonological
representation by focusing on the ambiguous nature
of the surface trill, which patterns sometimes as a
single unit and sometimes as a cluster of taps.
Specifically, it is argued that a morphologically
-derived sequence of taps is neutralized to trill
by dint of a targeted constraint enforcing coalescence
of adjacent rhotics. Chapter 5 concludes by summarizing
the main results of the dissertation and by outlining
some issues for future research.
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Phonetics
Article:Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7