Variable Hiatus in Persian is Affected by Suffix Length

Koorosh Ariyaee, Peter Jurgec


We conduct two experiments to examine variable hiatus in Spoken Persian. The production experiment reveals that variation is restricted. For instance, elision of the first vowel, which is cross-linguistically common (Casali 1997), is never attested. Moreover, elision of the second vowel is rare with monosegmental (-V) suffixes. The perception experiment confirms that elision of the second vowel is preferred with polysegmental suffixes, but rare with monosegmental suffixes, where hiatus is favoured instead. The preference of hiatus over epenthesis remains constant regardless of suffix length. This study contributes to the discussion of variable phonological processes and constitutes the first experimentally confirmed case of variable hiatus to date.


Persian; hiatus; laboratory phonology; MaxEnt; variation

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