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The vocalic system of the Mehri of Oman

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Stress, length and syllabic structure

image of Brill's Journal of Afroasiatic Languages and Linguistics

Existing grammars and descriptions of the Mehri of Oman usually deal with a presentation of the surface vocalic system only. Our aim in this article is to clarify the phonological structure of this system. We examine the nature of stress and its interaction with vocalic length and syllabic structure, and conclude that the vocalic system of the Mehri of Oman does not include any opposition of quantity at the phonological level. All superficially long vowels are the product of one of two processes: lengthening of open syllables under stress, and compensatory lengthening after the deletion of consonants in the coda. Lengthening under stress is constrained by a simple and widely attested condition: it can only take place in open syllables, and never in closed ones.

Affiliations: 1: UMR 6310 CNRS Université de Nantes ; 2: UMR 7110 CNRS Université Paris 7


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