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Apparent exceptions to final devoicing in High Prussian: A metrical analysis

  • Björn Köhnlein (a1)


High Prussian, a variety of East Central German, has a segmentally opaque process of final devoicing: Only some forms with underlyingly voiced obstruents devoice at the end of a word. This phenomenon can also be observed in some morphological alternations where simplex forms show final devoicing but complex ones do not. This paper provides a metrical analysis of final devoicing and two related phenomena: spirantization, and an interaction of vowel length in high vowels and obstruent voicing. It is claimed that nondevoicing items contain disyllabic foot templates and that word-final consonants are then syllabified as onsets of empty-headed word-final syllables. The analysis demonstrates how evidence from West Germanic dialects can contribute to our understanding of the phonology of laryngeal features and to the role that metrical structure can play in shaping phonological alternations.*


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The Ohio State University, Department of Linguistics, Oxley Hall, 1712 Neil Ave, Columbus OH 43210, USA []


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For helpful comments and discussion, I would like to thank two anonymous reviewers, the editor Tracy A. Hall, Becca Morley, and the participants of MidPhon 21.



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