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Andrew Byrd

In The Indo-European Syllable Andrew Miles Byrd investigates the process of syllabification within Proto-Indo-European (PIE), revealing connections to a number of seemingly unrelated phonological processes in the proto-language.

Drawing from insights in linguistic typology and synchronic theory, he makes two significant advances in our understanding of PIE phonology. First, by analyzing securely reconstructable consonant clusters at word’s edge, he devises a methodology which allows us to predict which types of consonant clusters could occur word-medially in PIE. Thus, a number of previously disconnected phonological rules can now be understood as being part of a conspiracy motivated by violations in syllable structure. Second, he uncovers evidence of morphological influence within the syllable, created by processes such as quantitative ablaut. These advances allow us to view PIE as a synchronic grammar, one which can be described by -- and contribute to -- modern linguistic theory.

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Adam Cooper

In Reconciling Indo-European Syllabification, Adam Cooper brings together two seemingly disparate phenomena associated with Indo-European syllable structure: the heterosyllabic treatment of medial consonant clusters, which tolerates CVC syllables, and the right-hand vocalization of sonorants, which ostensibly avoids them. Operating from a perspective that is simultaneously empirical, theoretical, and historical in nature, he establishes their compatibility by crafting a formal analysis that integrates them into a single picture of the reconstructed system.

More generally, drawing on evidence from Vedic, Greek, and Proto-Indo-European itself, Cooper demonstrates the continued relevance of the ancient Indo-European languages to contemporary linguistic theory, and, moreover, reaffirms the value of the syllable as a unit of phonology, necessary for these languages’ formal representation.