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JUNKO ITO, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The goal of this dissertation is to examine the nature of the syllable as a prosodic constituent. Within the framework of Prosodic Theory and Lexical Phonology, theory-internal considerations and a variety of empirical arguments converge on a conception of syllabification as continuous template matching governed by syllable wellformedness conditions and a directional parameter. Chapter I introduces the principles of Prosodic Licensing, Locality, and Directionality and discusses their implications for Syllable Theory. In order to be compatible with these prosodic principles and to avoid duplicating their effects, it is argued that the theory must define syllables by templates and other wellformedness conditions and not by syllable-building rules. Chapter II deals with locality problems in Syllable Theory and examines cases where the principle requiring local determination of prosodic wellformedness appears violated. It is shown that the nonlinear theory of geminates allows a local and explanatory analysis of the phenomena if language-specific aspects of syllabification are expressed as wellformedness conditions on representations. Chapter III argues that syllable mapping must be identified with the universal association mechanism, triggered by the principle of Prosodic Licensing (requiring all phonological units to belong to higher prosodic structure). Our hypothesis is that syllable mapping takes place continuously throughout the phonological derivation. Since the output of every cycle must be prosodically licensed, end-of-cycle Stray Erasure eliminates all unlicensed material. Chapter IV discusses certain operations performed on stray segments, comparing different approaches to stray epenthesis. It is argued that a nonredundant and explanatory account is only possible if epenthesis is understood as a syllable mapping operation. Chapter V argues that as a parameter available in Prosodic Phonology, directionality plays an important role in Syllable Theory. It is shown that directional syllable mapping correctly predicts the insertion sites in complex systems of epenthesis.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

ITO, JUNKO, "SYLLABLE THEORY IN PROSODIC PHONOLOGY" (1986). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8701171.