Binomial expressions as a window on the phonological system of Turkish


  • Serra Gök Boğaziçi University
  • Stefano Canalis Boğaziçi University



binomial expressions, Turkish phonology, word order, linearization, semantic constraints, phonological constraints, sonority scale


The principles governing word order in binomial expressions have been investigated in a few languages, revealing the relevance of several interacting semantic and phonological constraints, some of them universal or near-universal while others appear to be more language-specific. This paper presents the results of a preliminary quantitative analysis of some constraints influencing word order in Turkish irreversible binomials. We found that semantic constraints referring to the semantic prominence and iconic order of the items of the binomial, a constraint placing loanwords in final position, suprasegmental phonological constraints referring to syllable count, presence of onsets and presence of codas, segmental phonological constraints referring to the sonority of consonants, vowel roundness and presence of an initial labial consonant, all influence word order in Turkish irreversible binomials. Furthermore, the evidence from the segmental constraints may also shed light on some aspects of the Turkish phonological system, i.e. the markedness of rounded vowels and labial consonants, the properties of the sonority scale in Turkish and the featural specification of Turkish /j/.