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Title:Some Aspects of the Phonology of Tripura Bangla and Tripura Bangla English [Dissertation]
Authors:Shyamal Das
Comment:Doctoral dissertation (2002), CIEFL, Hyderabad
Abstract: Though attested in very few languages, ternary rhythm has always occupied the center-stage of research in metrical phonology. Scholars experience(d) nightmares trying to explain this \"marked\" pattern of metrification in terms of the analytical tools of their respective theories. Many proposals ensued. These include ternarity-specific tools like TERNARY FEET (Halle and Vergnaud 1987, Levin 1988, Dresher & Lahiri 1991, Hewitt 1992, Rice 1992); binary feet with a special parsing mode called Weak Local Parsing (Hayes 1995), Relativized Extrametricality (Hammond 1990); in the Optimality Theory or OT framework, a foot-repulsion constraint *FTFT (Kager 1994). In recent times the analytical perspective on ternary rhythm has witnessed a radical change. Capitalizing on the idea that ternarity is not a primitive of metrical phonology, efforts have been made to derive ternary rhythm with binary feet through interaction of foot alignment (ALL-FT-X) with an anti-lapse constraint (Ishii 1996). However, the entire theoretical artifice is crucially dependent on an appropriate statement of the anti-lapse constraint. One such approach to defining the anti-lapse constraint is the grid-based lapse constraint *LAPSE (Elenbaas 1999, Elenbaas and Kager 1999) which has proved its mettle in offering a principled and unified account of rhythmic ternarity in many a language. A welcome feature of this constraint is that it is not specific to any particular rhythm in the sense that it broadly enforces bounded rhythm, either binary or ternary.
But despite its spectacular success both empirically and typologically, *LAPSE is unable to account for the presence of a word-final triple upbeat in the trochaic system of Tripura Bangla (TB), spoken in the Indian state of Tripura. Explaining this metrical pattern requires a reformulation of the anti-lapse constraint such that only the edges of two prosodic domains -- foot and word -- function as valid licensors of weak beats. In this respect it differs from the earlier version conveniently renamed *LAPSE(E&K) which allows the strong beat and the word-edge to license weak beats in a grid. The main thrust of the dissertation is the newly defined lapse constraint *LAPSE(DE) where DE stands for domain edges. The advantage of *LAPSE(DE) is that it not only succeeds in accommodating the deviant facts of TB but also accounts for all the cross-linguistic data that provided the empirical justification to *LAPSE(E&K). More importantly, *LAPSE(DE) scores much better in projecting a factorial typology which is more restrictive than that of *LAPSE(E&K).
The first chapter critically summarizes the origin, and achievements of *LAPSE(E&K), empirical as well as typological. The second chapter highlights the factors necessitating the reformulation of the constraint as *LAPSE(DE). It also demonstrates the typological superiority of the latter. The third chapter argues in favour of prominence-distinction and binary foot parsing in TB with evidence from prosodically conditioned processes of weakening and licensing attested in segmental phonology. The fourth and last chapter extends the new OT approach based on *LAPSE(DE) to Tripura Bangla English (TBE) and also raises a basic theoretical issue of Trochaic lengthening in spite of the absence of underlying vowel length in TBE.
Article:Version 1