Reconciling Indo-European Syllabification


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.

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Biographical Note

Adam I. Cooper, Ph.D. (2012) in Linguistics, Cornell University, is a Lecturer in Linguistics at Northeastern University. He has worked on a variety of topics concerning syllables, recently examining the Proto-Indo-European syllabic sonorants from a typological perspective ( Indo-European Linguistics 2013).


Indo-Europeanists concerned with PIE phonology, phonologists, typologists, indologists, classical philologists, and anyone interested in the interplay between ancient and reconstructed language data and linguistic theory.