This study attempts to analyse the permissible syllable structures and the aspiration and voicing of word-initial and word-final segments in the syllable structure of Bangla. A corpus study leads to a detailed analysis of Bangla syllable structure restrictions, relative to the three traditional strata of the Bangla lexicon, namely, Native Bangla (NB, Tadbhava), Sanskrit borrowings (SB, Tatsama and Ardha-Tatsama), and other borrowings (OB, Deshi and Bideshi), following Ito and Mester’s work on the Japanese lexicon. Complex codas are allowed only in OB. Complex onsets are ruled out in NB while they have the maximal form s+C+liquid in SB and OB. There is no onset maximisation: Medial clusters in all strata avoid complex onsets if a consonant can be syllabified into the preceding coda (Vp.lV rather than V.plV). Aspiration is banned from the coda in NB but not generally in SB and OB, where restrictions that are more complex obtain. Obstruent voicing contrasts are present in onset and coda, but voicing agreement is enforced in obstruent clusters. Analyses of these restrictions are presented in Optimality Theory: the different strata of the lexicon may have different phonologies, i. e. different constraint ranking.
Berg, Thomas & Niemi, Jussi. 2000. Syllabification in Finnish and German: Onset filling vs. onset maximization. Journal of Phonetics 28(2). 187–216.
Bhattacharya, Tanmoy. 2000. Bangla: Bengali. In Jane Gary & Carl Rubino (eds.), Facts about the world’s languages: An encyclopedia of the world’s major languages, past and present, 65–71. New York: H.W. Wilson.
Blevins, Juliette. 1995. The syllable in phonological theory. In John A. Goldsmith (ed.), Handbook of phonological theory, 106–244. London: Basil Blackwell.
Broselow, Ellen. 1999. Loanwords and learnability. Invited talk at the University of Maryland Linguistics Colloquium, December 1999.
Chaki, Jyotibhushan. 2001. Bangla Bhashar Byakaran [Grammar of the Bangla language]. Kolkata: Ananda Publishers.
Chakrabarti, Byomkes. 1994. A comparative study of Santali and Bengali. Kolkata: K. P. Bagchi & Co.
Chatterji, Suniti Kumar. 1926a. The origin and development of the Bengali language, vol. 1. Calcutta: University of Calcutta.
Chatterji, Suniti Kumar. 1926b. The origin and development of the Bengali language, vol. 2. Calcutta: University of Calcutta.
Chatterji, Suniti Kumar. 1986. A Bengali phonetic reader. Calcutta: Rupa.
Gordon, Reymond, Jr. (ed.). 2005 Ethnologue: Languages of the world, 15th edn. Dallas, TX: SIL International.
Gouskova, Maria. 2001. Falling sonority onsets, loanwords, and syllable contact. In Mary Andronis, Eric Debenport, Christopher Ball, Heidi Elston & Sylvain Neuvel (eds.), CLS 37: The main session. Papers from the 37th meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, 175–186. Chicago: The Chicago Linguistics Society.
Gouskova, Maria. 2004. Relational hierarchies in optimality theory: The case of syllable contact. Phonology 21(2). 201–250.
Greenberg, Joseph Harold. 1978. Some generalizations concerning initial and final consonant clusters. In Joseph H. Greenberg (ed.), Universals of human language. Vol. 2: Phonology, 243–280. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Hai, Muhammad Abdul. 1975. Dhonibiggan o Bangla dhonitatto [Phonetics and Bangla Phonology]. Dhaka: Barnamichil.
Hall, Tracy Alan. 1992. Syllable structure and syllable-related processes in German. Tübingen: Niemeyer. (Linguistische Arbeiten 276)
Itô, Junko. 1986. Syllable theory in prosodic phonology. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Amherst PhD thesis.
Itô, Junko & Armin Mester. 1986. The phonology of voicing in Japanese. Linguistic Inquiry 17. 49–73.
Itô, Junko & Armin Mester. 1995. The core–periphery structure of the lexicon and constraints on reranking. In Jill N. Beckman, Laura Walsh Dickey & Suzanne Urbanczyk (eds.), University of Massachusetts occasional papers, vol. 18, 181–209. Amherst: Graduate Linguistic Student Association of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Kager, Rene. 1999. Optimality theory. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kar, Somdev. 2010. Syllable structure of Bangla: An optimality theoretic approach. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
Kar, Somdev. 2012. Voicing agreement in Bangla word-medial clusters. Indian Linguistics 73(1–4). 175–184.
Kar, Somdev. 2013. Complex onsets in regional varieties of Bangla. Language Sciences 40. 212–220.
Karim, Khaled. 2016. Adaptation of loanwords in Bangla: An Optimality Theoretic (OT) analysis. Indian Linguistics 77(1–2). 35–60.
Katzner, Kenneth. 2002. The languages of the world. London & New York: Routledge.
Kaye, Jonathan & Jean Lowenstamm. 1981. Syllable structure and markedness theory. In Adriana Belletti, Luciana Brandi & Luigi Rizzi (eds.), Theory of markedness in generative grammar: Proceedings of the 1979 GLOW conference, 559–604. Pisa: Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa.
Kostić, Djordje & Rhea Das. 1972. A short outline of Bengali phonetics. Calcutta: Statistical Publishing Society.
Lombardi, Linda. 1999. Positional faithfulness and voicing assimilation in Optimality Theory. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 17(2). 267–302.
Vijayakrishnan, K. G. 2003. Weakening processes in the optimality framework. In Jeroen M. van de Weijer, Vincent van Heuven & Harry van der Hulst (eds.), The phonological spectrum, 241–255. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Weber, George. 1997. Top languages: The World’s 10 most influential languages. Language Monthly 3. 12–18.
Yavaş, Mehmet. 2003. Role of sonority in developing phonologies. Journal of Multilingual Communication Disorders 1(2). 79–98.
The journal provides a peer-reviewed forum for publishing original research articles and reviews in the field of South Asian languages and linguistics, with a focus on descriptive, functional and typological investigations. Descriptive analyses are encouraged to the extent that they present analyses of lesser-known languages, based on original fieldwork. Other areas covered by the journal include language change and sociolinguistics.