G[e]LAT[i]NA AND B[Ɛ]RNAD[Ɛ]TE: ACCOUNTING FOR ADJACENCY IN VOWEL HARMONY IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE

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  Letrônica , Porto Alegre, v. 7, n. 2, p. 608-626, jul./dez., 2014 G[e] LAT [i] NA AND B[ Ɛ ] RNAD [ Ɛ ] TE :    ACCOUNTING FOR ADJACENCY IN VOWEL HARMONY IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE G[e]LAT[i ]NA E B[Ɛ]RNAD[Ɛ]TE: UM ESTUDO SOBRE A ADJACÊNCIA NA HARMONIA VOCÁLICA DO PORTUGUÊS BRASILEIRO Graziela Pigatto Bohn *    Abstract: This study addresses the issue of vowel harmony in Brazilian Portuguese from the perspective of the Optimality Theory. More specifically, we address the issue of adjacency between vowels which seems to impede vowel harmony of height from taking place (*g[i]lat[i]na), but does not seem to affect vowel harmony of ATR when segments which are not specified for the relevant feature intervene (b[ ɛ ]rnad[ ɛ ]te). To account for this difference we propose the re-ordering of the markedness constraints A GREE  and N O G AP .   Another issue addressed is the optionality of both phenomena which allows non-harmonized outputs. For this, we propose the re-ordering of faithfulness and markedness constraints.  Keywords: Vowel harmony; Adjacency; Optimality Theory; Phonological variation. Resumo: O presente estudo traz uma análise do processo de harmonia vocálica no Português Brasileiro sob a perspectiva da Teoria da Otimalidade. Mais especificamente, abordaremos a questão da adjacência entre vogais que parece bloquear o fenômeno no caso de harmonia vocálica de altura (*g[i]lat[i]na), mas não parece afetar a harmonia vocálica de ATR quando segmentos não especificados quanto ao traço relevante encontram-se em posição interveniente (b[ ɛ ]rnad[ ɛ ]te). Para dar conta dessa diferença, propomos um re-ordenamento das restrições de marca A GREE  e N O G AP .   Outra questão abordada é a opcionalidade das duas regras permitindo que formas não harmonizadas também sejam produzidas. Para isso, propomos um re-ordenamento entre as restrições de fidelidade e de marca. Palavras-chave: Harmonia vocálica; Adjacência; Teoria da Otimalidade; Variação fonológica. *  PhD Candidate in General Linguistics at Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas, at Universidade de São Paulo . Member of the faculty at Universidade Católica de Santos and visiting scholar at the University of Toronto, Canada, supported by Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Capes) .  609   Letrônica , Porto Alegre, v. 7, n. 2, p. 608-626, jul./dez., 2014 Introduction The aim of this paper is to present a broad analysis of two processes of vowel harmony in Brazilian Portuguese (BP) –  vowel harmony of height and vowel harmony of [ATR] - within the Optimality Theory (OT) model (PRINCE & SMOLENSKY 1993, 2004) 1 . In doing so, we will not only try to determine which constraints are involved in both processes, but we will also try to account for a difference there seems to be between them: the requirement of adjacency. While vowel harmony of height, henceforth VH[high], seems to require that both relevant vowels be in strictly adjacent syllables, vowel harmony of [ATR], henceforth VH[ATR], seems to ignore transparent intervening vowels. One other issue that will be addressed in this analysis is the optionality involved in both vowel harmony processes in the language which allows two optimal surface candidates: a harmonized and a non-harmonized one. The paper is organized as follows: in § 1 we present the vowel system of BP, the phonological neutralization and processes affecting it and the phonological features that specify each vowel according to Lee (2003); in § 2 we discuss the processes of vowel harmony in BP; in § 3 we provide an account for both VH[high] and VH[ATR] within the OT model; and § 4 addresses the problem of variability for these processes within OT and proposes a re-ordering of constraints to surface non-harmonized outputs. 1 The vowel system of BP Brazilian Portuguese consists of seven vowels which are only fully contrastive when in stressed position: 1  Considering that these harmony processes are optional in Brazilian Portuguese and vary considerably depending on the dialect, our analysis will make use of the data from Belo Horizonte and Salvador presented by Lee & Oliveira (2003) and data from Minas Gerais, Goiás and Espírito Santo presented by Abaurre & Sândalo (2012). Also, following Lee & Oliveira (2003)'s, Guimarães (2006)'s and Abaurre & Sândalo (2012)'s analysis of vowel lowering in BP as feature spreading, we assume that both processes consist of a regressive assimilation of either height or [ATR] and therefore should be analyzed in tandem, even though they present differences regarding locality as will be shown in the paper. Finally, because it is beyond the scope of this paper, we will not address raising and lowering that do not result from assimilation, such as [pe'kena] ~ [pi'kena], [fo'gãw] ~ [fu'gãw] and [xe'vista] ~ [x ɛ 'vista], [pos'tu ɾ a] ~ [p ɔ s'tu ɾ a], respectively. My thanks to Keren Rice and three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Any mistakes and oversights contained herein are entirely my own.   610 Letrônica , Porto Alegre, v. 7, n. 2, p. 608-626, jul./dez., 2014 (1) [i] - ‘ sis .ku ‘dust’   [e] - ‘se .ku ‘dry - adj’  [ ɛ ] - ‘sɛ .ku ‘dry -verb-1st p. sg. pres’   [a] - ‘sa .ku ‘bag’  [ ɔ ] - ‘sɔ .ku ‘punch -verb-1stp. sg. pres’   [o] - ‘so .ku ‘punch - noun’   [u] - ‘su .ku ‘juice’  In unstressed position, this system is reduced to 5 vowels in pre-tonic position (2a), 4 in non-final post-tonic position (2b) 2 , and 3 in final post-tonic position (2c): (2a) [i] - mi ’lita   ‘militate - 3rdp.sg.pres’   [e] - me ’ladu   ‘sugary’  [a] - ma ’leta   ‘briefcase’  [o] - mo ’lusk  u ‘mollusk’  [u] - mu ’latu   ‘dark  - skinned man’  (2b) [i] - ‘a. li bi ‘alibi’  [e] - ‘ɔ . pe ra ‘opera’  [a] - a’bɔ . ba da ‘dome’  [u] - ‘ãn. gu lu ‘angle’  (2c) [i] - ‘ma. t∫i   ‘kill -3rd p. sg.imp’  [a] - ‘ma. ta   ‘kill -3rd p. sg.pres’  [u] - ‘ma. tu   ‘kill -1st p. sg.pres’  Lee (2003) proposes, according to the Contrastive Feature Hierarchy (DRESHER 2003, 2009), for the BP vowel system to be specified for the following features: Low > Back > High > ATR, as shown in (3) below: (3) /a/ - [+low] /i/ - [-low, -back, +high] /e/ - [-low, -back, -high, +ATR] / ɛ / - [-low, -back, -high, -ATR] /u/ - [-low, +back, +high] /o/ - [-low, +back, -high, +ATR] / ɔ / - [-low, +back, -high, -ATR] 2 According to Câmara Jr. (1970 [1999]), while the contrast between /e/ and /i/ still holds in non-final post-tonic position, the contrast between /o/ and /u/ is neutralized to /u/. Câmara Jr. calls attention to the variation involving the front vowel in this position ( ‘numeru ~ ‘numiru) , which is not attested for the back vowels ( a’bɔbura ~ *a’bɔ bora).  611   Letrônica , Porto Alegre, v. 7, n. 2, p. 608-626, jul./dez., 2014 According to Lee’s proposal, [a] is distinguished from all other vowels since it is the only vowel specified as [+low]. The high vowels /i, u/, on the other hand, form a natural class of [+high], and the mid vowels /e, ɛ , o, ɔ / form a natural class of [-high]. This latter class is also distinguished from one another by [ATR]. The features [high] and [ATR] are relevant in the contrastive hierarchy of vowels because they are active in processes of vowel harmony in the language, a topic which will be discussed in the following section. 2 Vowel Harmony in BP The phonetic realization of the mid-vowels /e, o/ in pre-tonic position is determined by phonological processes such as Vowel Harmony of Height and Vowel Harmony of [ATR]. Both of these processes are optional in the language and will be discussed in more depth in the subsections that follow. 2.1 Vowel Harmony of Height Vowel harmony of height is an optional regressive assimilation process triggered by a [+high] vowel /i, u/ and affecting a [-high] vowel /e, o/ in unstressed immediately preceding syllable, as the examples in (4) show (BISOL, 1981): (4) a) /me’ninu/      [me’nin  ] ~ [mi’ninu]   ‘boy’  b) /ko’ɾ u ʒ a/    [ko’ɾ u ʒ  ] ~ [ku’ɾ u ʒ a] ‘owl’  c) /se’guɾ a/    [se’guɾ  ] ~ [si’guɾ a] ‘hold - 1stp.pres.’  d) /bo’nitu/      [bo’nit   ] ~ [bu’nitu]   ‘ pretty’  As can been seen in the examples above, both harmonized and non-harmonized forms occur in the language. Also, as shown in (4c-d), a back vowel can affect a front vowel and vice-versa, so there are no restrictions regarding place of articulation. Also, because VH[high] is optional in the language, many are the studies which have set forth to determine its phonological conditions and phonetic motivation: adjacency and homorganicity between vowels, stress of the high vowel, prosodic  612 Letrônica , Porto Alegre, v. 7, n. 2, p. 608-626, jul./dez., 2014 domain, and surrounding phonological context. For the sake of conciseness and relevance, only adjacency between vowels will be addressed in this paper. 2.1.1 VH[high] and Adjacency Previous studies on VH[high] in BP have unanimously considered adjacency between vowels a highly favorable phonological condition for the process. One reason for this is that these studies make use of the Feature Geometry specification for vowels proposed by Clements (1989, 1991) –  and applied to BP by Wetzels (1992) –  according to which all vowels receive specification for height in terms of the [open] feature. That being so, an intervening vowel which is also specified with the feature being spread becomes opaque and blocks the process: Figure 1: intervening vowel blocking vowel harmony of height in BP   The examples in (5) below show that when not adjacent, VH[high] between /e, o/ and /i, u/ does not occur, providing strong evidence of adjacency: (5) a) ʒela’tʃ  ina ~ * ʒila’tʃ  ina ‘ jelly’  b) meta’lurʒ ika ~ * mita’lurʒ ika ‘ metalwork’  c) melo’dʒ ia ~ * milo’dʒ ia ‘ melody’  d) pe ɾe’sivew  ~ * pi ɾe’sivew   ‘ perishable’  In words with two mid vowels preceding a high vowel, whenever the closest is harmonized, it can spread the feature [high] to the non-adjacent mid-vowel: /e, o/ /a/ /i, u/C-Place C-Place C-PlaceV V VV-Place Aperture V-Place Aperture V-Place Aperture[-open1] [+open1] [-open1][+open2] [+open2] [-open2][-open3] [+open3] [-open3]
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