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Syllable Structure – The Limits of Variation - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Syllable Structure: The Limits of Variation

San Duanmu


When one looks at the world's languages, it is easy to get the impression that there is a wide range of syllable patterns. But an in‐depth analysis of a selection of languages shows that the maximal syllable is CVX, where C, V, or X can be a complex sound. Extra consonants at word edges need not be part of the adjacent syllable but can be attributed to morphology: a potential V from an affix, anti‐allomorphy, and the affix rule. The range of possible syllables is therefore far smaller than previously thought. The study shows that in some parts of language there may be no parameters or typology ... More

Keywords: syllable, complex sounds, CVX theory, potential V, anti‐allomorphy, affix rule, parameters, universals

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2008 Print ISBN-13: 9780199267590
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199267590.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

San Duanmu, author
University of Michigan
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