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.
©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston