Syllable Contact and Emergent Lenition in Bashkir

Matthew Carter


This study examines the syllable contact phonology of Bashkir (Kipchak, southern Urals, Russia), a language which exhibits a unique variation on general Turkic syllable contact phenomena, and proposes an Optimality Theoretic analysis, drawing on previous approaches to syllable contact in Turkic (Baertsch & Davis 2001, 2004, Gouskova 2001, 2004, Washington 2010). Bashkir desonorizes affix-initial coronal sonorants (/qullar/ --> [qul.dar]) to mandate compliance with the Syllable Contact Law (Davis, 1998). This occurs even at boundaries which would otherwise exhibit falling sonority, thereby maximizing sonority fall. Bashkir also exhibits a unique continuancy alternation pattern in desonorized affixes (taw-ðar, uram-dar, gaz-dar). This study adopts the Syllable Contact Hierarchy analysis proposed in Gouskova (2004), with ranking of relevant faithfulness constraints below all *DIST constraints mandating maximal sonority fall. It is proposed that continuancy alternations derived from a synchronically active lenition process, otherwise dominated by relevant faithfulness constraints, which emerges when unfaithfulness is forced to satisfy constraints on syllable contact.


Bashkir; Bashqort; syllable contact; phonology; Turkic; lenition

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Copyright (c) 2019 Matthew Colin Carter

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