AuthorDAVIS, STUART MICHAEL.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractA central topic of recent research in phonological theory has been the syllable and the question of its internal structure. A common view that emerges from this work is that the syllable consists of two major constituents, the onset and the rhyme. A careful scrutiny of the major arguments for the rhyme, however, reveals that the class of phonological generalizations (rule-types) that are only supposed to make reference to elements within the rhyme make reference to other elements as well. To cite one example, some stress rules are required to make reference to onsets. Moreover, there is other evidence in addition to that from stress rules. Phonotactic constraints can hold across segments in the onset and segments within the constituents of the rhyme. Thus, arguments which have been cited to support the rhyme actually do not support it when additional evidence is taken into consideration. In addition, I demonstrate that analyses of stress rules sensitive to the rhyme and formulated in the metrical framework are also compatible with a rhymeless syllable containing an onset, a nucleus, and a coda. In fact, when onset-sensitive stress rules are considered (and these have not really been considered in the literature until now) it is the latter type of syllable that is best able to handle such stress rules. Finally, external evidence that bears on the nature of syllable structure, such as the "movement" phenomena involved in speech errors and language games, provides indirect support for a syllable that consists of onset, nucleus, and coda, and not a structure containing an onset and a rhyme. I conclude that the syllable structure with the highest degree of descriptive and explanatory adequacy is one that only consists of an onset, a nucleus, and coda.