Isomorphism between orthography and underlying forms in the syllabification of the Armenian schwa
Keywords:orthography, underlying representation, directional syllabification, orthography-phonology, schwa epenthesis
Orthographic representations are often derived from phonological analyses or representations, and can even lead to claims about phonological representations (Sproat 2000). In Armenian, many strings of orthographic consonants are broken up by schwas in pronunciation. As a grammatical process, this spelling-pronunciation mismatch is sensitive to a host of phonological, morphological, and morphophonological factors. I systematically catalog these factors, and this systematicity reinforces previous generative arguments that the orthographic form (without schwas) matches the underlying form (without schwas) (Vaux 1998). As for these factors, I argue that, phonologically, the epenthesis is triggered by directional syllabification and other syllabification-based constraints, including constraints on sibilant-stop contiguity (Itô 1989). Morphologically, epenthesis respects morpheme boundaries even when the boundary is semantically opaque, whether from prefixation, compounding, reduplication, or pseudo-reduplication. And from the morphophonology, there is evidence that epenthesis is simultaneously a phonological rule. It is an early lexical rule and it interacts opaquely with allomorphy and strata. Thus, this paper argues for a tight integration of orthographic, phonological, and morphological structures (cf. Boersma 2011; Hamann & Colombo 2017).
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