[SG] and Final Consonant Allophony in Tz'utujil

Maya Wax Cavallaro


This paper considers two phenomena in Tz'utujil (Mayan) phonology: final sonorant devoicing and final aspiration of plain (pulmonic) stops and affricates. Both occur word-internally in coda position, as well as word-finally. I present an Optimality-Theoretic (OT) analysis which accounts for both of these phenomena via positional constraints on [spread glottis] ([SG]). This analysis also accounts for attested variation in final aspiration and devoicing across the Mayan language family and predicts an implicational relationship between final nasal devoicing, final sonorant devoicing, and final obstruent aspiration. Final sonorant devoicing is typologically rare and somewhat difficult to explain in terms of phonetic motivation. Tz'utujil may be able to provide insight into the typology of laryngeal features and the roles of contrast and phonetic pressures in phonology.


Tz'utujil; Optimality Theory; Features; Contrast

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/amp.v9i0.4929

Copyright (c) 2021 Maya Wax Cavallaro

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/