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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter (A) April 11, 2014

Tashlhiyt's ban of complex syllable onsets: phonetic and perceptual evidence

  • Rachid Ridouane EMAIL logo , Anne Hermes and Pierre Hallé


Tashlhiyt is famous for its particularly marked syllable structure. Unlike the majority of world languages, including some related Berber varieties, Tashlhiyt allows not only vowels but all consonants – including voiceless stops /t/, /k/ or /q/ – to be nuclei of a syllable (e.g., [tkmi] `she smoked' is analyzed as bisyllabic where the sequence [tk] stands for a syllable of its own with /k/ as the nucleus). A fundamental aspect of this analysis concerns constraints on the syllable onset constituent: complex onsets are prohibited. A consequence of this is that prevocalic consonant clusters are systematically parsed as heterosyllabic, regardless of the sonority profile of the consonants and the position of the cluster within a word or a phrase. This study provides phonetic and metalinguistic data to test this phonological account on experimental grounds. The analysis of these data provides clear evidence that Tashlhiyt disallows complex syllable onsets.

Published Online: 2014-4-11
Published in Print: 2014-4-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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