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.
From a synchronic point of view, the various accentuation systems found in the Baltic and Slavic languages differ considerably from each other. We find languages with free accent and languages with fixed accent, languages with and without syllabic tones, and languages with and without a distinction between short and long vowels. Yet despite the apparent diversity in the attested Baltic and Slavic languages, the sources from which these languages have developed – the reconstructed languages referred to as Proto-Baltic and Proto-Slavic respectively – seem to have had very similar accentuation systems.
The prehistory and development of the Baltic and Slavic accentuation systems is the main topic of this book, which contains sixteen articles on Baltic and Slavic accentology written by some of the world’s leading specialists in this field.