Segmental alternations in the sunwari verb stem: A case for the feature [front]1

Carol Genetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the Sunwari verb stem there are a number of segmental alternations that specifically involve the interaction of front vowels and coronal consonants. This paper discusses two possible analyses of these alternations, one using a traditional feature inventory in which the front/back distinction is marked by the feature [back] positioned under the dorsal node, and one using an inventory that replaces [back] with the coronal feature [front]. It is shown that the analysis with the traditional feature inventory fails in a number of respects, most conspicuously in requiring a simultaneous delinking of features from two unrelated branches of the hierarchy in order to properly derive high front vowels from coronal stops and nasals. The alternative analysis with [front] is by contrast simple and insightful. Use of the feature [front] also provides for a perspicuous characterization of constraints that holdthroughout the phonology of Sunwari.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-358
Number of pages40
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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