Phonemic vs. derived glides

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Previous accounts of glides have argued that all glides are derived from vowels. In this paper, we examine data from Karuk, Sundanese, and Pulaar which reveal the existence of two types of phonologically distinct glides both cross-linguistically and within a single language. "Phonemic" glides are distinct from underlying vowels and pattern with other sonorant consonants, while "derived" glides are non-syllabic, positional variants of underlying vowels and exhibit vowel-like behavior. It is argued that the phonological difference between these two types of glides lies in their different underlying featural representations. Derived glides are positional variants of vowels and therefore featurally identical. In contrast, phonemic glides are featurally distinct from underlying vowels and therefore pattern differently. Though a phonological distinction between these two types of glides is evident in these three languages, a reliable phonetic distinction does not appear to exist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1956-1978
Number of pages23
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Glides
  • Karuk
  • Pulaar
  • Sundanese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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