The phonological structure of the Kashubian word




Hopkins, Paul Stanley

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This dissertation examines the word-level phonology of the North-West Slavic language Kashubian spoken in East Pomerania (northern Poland) placing the investigation within the theoretical context of Optimality Theory. The primary goal of the thesis is thus to explore and describe the phonology of this language which has largely escaped the attention of generative phonology, it also aims to provide insight into the possibilities presented and the challenges faced by Optimality Theory in describing the phonological system of this language. Chapter One gives a general presentation of Kashubian. A definition of Kashubian in terms of its place within the Slavic language family is followed first by a brief history of research into this language, focusing mainly on those linguists who have made the most significant contributions, and then by an overview of the phonology and morphology of Kashubian. This chapter also presents the principles and methodology employed in an Optimality Theory analysis, and previews the main points to be made in the dissertation. Chapter Two examines the structure and properties of syllable onsets in Kashubian, with focus given to four topics: the appearance of prothetic consonants, the constituency of complex onsets, feature harmony in onset-nucleus interaction, and voicing assimilation. My investigation of the first two topics shows that Kashubian enforces the universal tendency for CV syllables with sonority increasing from edge to nucleus, however it also allows some forms with minimal violation of this preference. Investigation of the latter two topics shows that while there is a clear preference for featural harmony in Kashubian both within onset clusters and between onset and nucleus, the harmony is directional (right to left) and productively affects only certain features (voice in clusters, labial in the onset-nucleus interface). Chapter Three examines the structure of syllable codas in Kashubian. Syllable codas are universally less complex than onsets, which manifests itself in Kashubian in a number of ways. First, most dialects disallow any violation of the sonority hierarchy in codas. Second, intervocalic consonants are all syllabified in the onset to the preceding vowel unless this would result in syllabification across a prosodic word boundary, an onset cluster violating the sonority hierarchy, or a very heavy cluster. Third, whereas the appearance of underlying laryngeal and secondary features is enforced in onsets, it is not in Kashubian codas, where they never appear. Finally, Chapter Four examines the syllable nuclei of Kashubian focussing on three types of vowel alternation. Vowel raising, an alternation between open and closed vowels, is partially determined morphologically, such that certain verb stems show an open/closed alternation in certain morphological contexts, but it also occurs in a context largely determined phonologically. An examination of various contexts for a regular alternation between e/ə and zero is seen as evidence for the existence of latent vowels which appear only to avoid the violation of high-ranking constraints of the Kashubian grammar. In contrast to these latent vowels, the brief excrescent vowels found in the proximity of what would otherwise be syllabic liquids are held to lack an underlying representation.



Kashubian language