Sonority-driven stress and vowel reduction in Uyghur

Adam McCollum


A number of authors have argued that sonority differences among vowels may interact with weight-sensitive stress placement (e.g. Kenstowicz 1994, 1997; de Lacy 2006). In previous work on sonority-sensitivity, variable stress placement has usually been assumed. In this paper, I examine the role of sonority in Uyghur, a language with fixed stress. I argue that sonority is encoded as a weight distinction in the language, which drives asymmetric lengthening of word-final high vowels. I demonstrate that a mora-based analysis also offers insight into medial vowel raising in the language, and sketch out an Optimality theoretic account of the data. Findings from this study support the recent claim made by Shih & de Lacy (2019) that sonority differences are only indirectly available to the grammar in the form of weight distinctions.


Uyghur; sonority-sensitive stress; stress; vowel raising; vowel reduction

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Copyright (c) 2020 Adam McCollum

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