Rachid Ridouane, Anne Hermes, Pierre Hallé
April 11, 2014
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.