, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 755-766

Cyclic syllabification in Mongolian

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Abstract

Mongolian is a language with a rich suffix-based morphology. Underlying forms can contain long consonant strings into which schwa vowels must be epenthesized in order to create well-formed syllables. Syllabification (including epenthesis) is governed by universal principles (the sonority law, maximality, and directionality) and a few language specific rules. Syllabification is cyclic in relation to the morphology, as is shown directly by minimal pairs having the same underlying segments but different syllabifications due to different morphological structure.

I have benefitted from discussions with Merle Horne and other colleagues at Lund, as well as from detailed comments by fiveNLLT reviewers andNLLT editor Ellen Broselow. Research in Mongolia was made possible by a grant from Humanistiska Vetenskapssamfundet, Lund, and I am grateful to several teachers, students, and their friends at the Mongolian State University for their help.