LSSlaL 32: The Phonology of Glides in Russian

Product no.: ISBN 9783895864322
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The Phonology of Glides in Russian

Janina Mołczanow
University of Warsaw

This book examines the phonological behaviour of glides in Russian from the perspective of Optimality Theory (OT). The goal of the study is twofold. First, it addresses descriptive issues in the phonology of Russian which have not been discussed in the generative literature to date. Second, the data are analysed in the OT framework. On the one hand, it is argued that OT offers new insights into the phenomena concerning the phonological properties of the Russian v, which derives from the underlying back glide. On the other hand, the investigation of various processes associated with the occurrence of the front glide j reveals that standard OT cannot produce an adequate analysis of a large body of data. The problem stems from the fact that in most cases, the trigger of the process is not present on the surface. As is well known, opaque generalisations cannot be handled within standard OT, which evaluates output forms using one set of ranked constraints. This study argues that a modified version of OT, Derivational Optimality Theory, can successfully analyse the phenomena under consideration.

The first chapter offers an overview of the basic theoretical assumptions and presents descriptive generalisations that are relevant to the ensuing discussion. Chapter two is centred around issues connected with the distribution of high vowels and the corresponding glides in Russian. Specifically, it discovers a generalization that the systematic occurrences of the Cj sequences are conditioned by the presence of an alternating vowel. Chapter three discusses opaque generalisations that result from the interaction of Glide Deletion with other phonological processes, such as Vowel Reduction, Fronting and Retraction. The analysis proposed here strengthens the conclusion from the preceding chapter that OT evaluation must be carried out at different levels. Additionally, this chapter proposes a novel analysis of Vowel Reduction, which assumes that the raising of non-high vowels taking place after palatalised consonants is best analysed as assimilation in height. The final chapter offers an alternative OT analysis of the ambiguous behaviour of the labial continuant v in Russian. It is argued that v is represented as the glide //w// in the underlying representation and that the indeterminate sonorant/obstruent behaviour of v is derived from the interplay of independent constraints.

ISBN 9783895864322. LINCOM Studies in Slavic Linguistics 32. 96pp. 2008.

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