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Title: Aspects of the phonology and verb morphology of three Yemeni dialects
Author: Watson, Janet Constance Elizabeth
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1989
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This thesis challenges a number of widely held assumptions concerning dialectology. Generative approaches to dialectology have assumed that related dialects share identical underlying representations and that dialect variation results from different rules or different ordering of the same rules. In the introduction, it is demonstrated that this position is untenable. Firstly, it is claimed that there can be no such notion as an objective dialect and that the term 'dialect' is most sensibly used to describe what native speakers perceive to be their language variety; and secondly, it is argued that different dialects may have independent underlying representations. In this light, the task of the dialectologist is seen to be examination of the different levels of the grammar in which dialect variation may and does take place. In terms of this overall perspective, the thesis adopts a model of underspecification first proposed by Pulleyblank (1986) and Archangeli (1984). While certain aspects of the phonology are viewed as language universal, this model does permit and exploit language specific variation, and thereby proves particularly apt for an approach to dialectology which rejects positing a single underlying representation for cognate forms in related dialects. These general principles are applied to a study of three mutually intelligible dialects spoken in the western mountain range of North Yemen: Hubaiji, Gabiini and Kusmi. Aspects of phonology and verb morphology are investigated and it is seen how dialect variation is manifested in different components of the grammar. Chapter one establishes the set of syllable types and examines syllabification processes. Chapter two determines the identity of vocalic features and the vocalic matrix: to this end, the minimal vowel is established for the dialects. In chapter three, consonantal features are considered and the identity of the minimal consonant Is determined. Chapter four looks at the sound triliteral verb in terms of voice and inflection. Chapter five considers the possibility of two minimal segments within a single prosodic system and establishes the Identity of the minimal consonant at the lexical level. Chapters six, seven and eight investigate dialect variation in the lexical component by considering: feminine verbal and nominal inflections; non-sound triliteral verbs; and [+R] spread (the spread of lip rounding) as it affects vowels of the perfective verbal stem. In the Appendix, note is made of utterance-final phenomena.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Linguistics