A syllable-based solution to some phonological problems in Menominee

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Lee, Okja
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of English
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Recent phonologists such as D. Kahn, G.N. Clements and S.J. Keyser, have reintroduced the notion SYLLABLE as a unit of linguistic description and attempt to solve phonological problems which could not be solved systematically within segmental phonology. The present study is basically the application of syllable theory to Menominee. The major theory used in this study is CV Phonology proposed by Clements and Keyser. This approach solves systematically such phonological problems as loss of sounds in word final position, merging of vowels, semi-vowel deletion, and epenthesis. For example, the treatment of long vowels and word final consonant clusters is handled by the separation of the CV tier from the Melody tier. However, this study also suggests some modification to Clements and Keyser's crosslinguistic generalizations on the notion SYLLABLE. For instance, the CV syllable type which is considered the most universal is restricted in Menominee: there are no monosyllabic words which end with a vowel. Furthermore, this study finds a Syllable Structure Hierarchy among various types of syllable, which governs Peak Maximization Principle and Onset Maximization Principle: whenever there is a choice in the process of morpheme concatenation between two units and a single unit on either syllable onset or peak, maximal onset or peak is preferred to minimum onset or peak. Finally, this study also argues for the separate existence of Onset and Coda, by elucidating the condition on heterosyllabic consonant clusters which seem to be a crucial motivation on Epenthesis and Mutation.