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Consonant gemination in West Greenlandic - Alex Stefanelli

Part of:
1:45 PM, Sunday 6 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
There is a notable divergence across the Inuit dialect continuum regarding possible types of consonant clusters. Moving eastward, increasing restrictions on consonant cluster configurations culminate with West Greenlandic, which forbids them entirely and employs geminate consonants instead. To illustrate, compare Alaskan Iñupiaq \textit{qavlu} ‘eyebrow’ and ikniq ‘fire’ with West Greenlandic qallu and inneq.

The goal of this presentation is to propose a unified description of consonant gemination in West Greenlandic. There are three main facets to consider:

1. Weight-based restrictions on consonant features

2. Synchronic consonant gemination processes

3. Stem- and affix-conditioned allomorphy affecting these processes

To begin, all geminate consonants excepting nasals must be voiceless. Additionally, alternation patterns between singleton fricatives and geminate stops emerge from the two processes under consideration: regressive assimilation and stem-internal gemination. Regressive assimilation occurs when two consonants come into contact across a morpheme boundary, resulting in a geminate with the features of only the second consonant. Consider kamik ‘boot’ combined with the affix -taaq ‘new’: kamittaaq. Stem-internal gemination affects a large class of nouns where a non-final consonant is geminated to compensate for the deletion of stem material following affixation. For example, imaq ‘sea’ undergoes deletion of stem-final q when pluralized with -t: immat ‘seas’. Stem and affix allomorphy influence whether this process occurs. I assume a moraic analysis of compensatory lengthening and draw from work on the typology of gemination processes to explain the facts described here. Finally, I outline an Optimality Theoretic interpretation of the interaction and relative importance of these phenomena.

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