Posterior Affricate in Mee and Consonant-Vowel Place Interactions

Peter Staroverov, Sören E. Tebay


In this paper we document a previously unknown allophony pattern of the posterior affricate in Mee (Trans New Guinea; Indonesia). The affricate is realized as a laterally released velar stop [gʟ] before front vowels and with uvular closure followed by a fricative release [ɢʁ] before back vowels. Our description is confirmed in an acoustic study that shows differences in the second formant of the preceding vowel and the periodicity of the release for the two allophones. The interaction between the consonant's place and the following vowel challenges previous claims about the absence of major place (or C-Place) assimilation between vowels and consonants. Our OT-Analysis captures this process by postulating two agreement constraints: one requiring agreement between the release and the vowel and another -- between the closure and the release. Although there is no constraint promoting agreement between C closure place and V quality, we show that this effect can be derived from two local constraints.


Mee; Velar Lateral; Affricate; Consonant-Vowel Interaction; Uvular; Velar

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Copyright (c) 2019 Peter Staroverov, Sören E. Tebay