Syllabification and prosodic templates in Yawelmani

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This article addresses the interaction of syllabification and templatic morphology in Yawelmani. The morphological templates (in CV terms, CVCC, CVVCC, and CVCVVC) do not parse directly into well-formed Yawelmani surface syllables (CV, CVV, CVC). Nonetheless, as argued here, these templates can be expressed in terms of legitimate prosodic units, thereby supporting the prosodic morphology hypothesis (McCarthy and Prince 1986, 1987, 1990). The basic idea is that segments map from left to right to the template, but if a template is too small, any leftover stem consonants simply undergo right to left syllabification. This analysis accounts for the general templatic mapping of verbs and nouns as well as the different kinds of reduplication in Yawelmani. It also provides a more explanatory account of the 'ghost' consonants - initial consonants of some of the suffixes which surface only when the stem is biconsonantal, but not if the stem is larger. The analysis not only provides support for the prosodic morphology hypothesis, it also argues in favor of a templatic view of syllabification (Itô 1986, 1989) and a rule of Weight-by-Position (Hayes 1989) operating independently of the general syllabification process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-283
Number of pages53
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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