The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Non-Local Consonant-Tone Interaction in Thai

Jeremy Perkins

Center for Language Research, University of Aizu, Japan

This paper presents a phonological account of consonant-tone sequence restrictions in Thai, positing a pair of new constraints, *[+CG]-[H]ì2 and LIC-T-Rt. *[+CG]-[H]ì2 restricts sequences of consonants and tones non-locally, referring instead to the notion of “head mora” of a syllable. LIC-T-Rt prefers a single tone to be right-aligned rather than left-aligned. Previous phonological accounts assumed that only high tone is banned following [+Constricted Glottis] ([+CG]) onsets in CV: syllables. However, new evidence based on a quantitative lexical analysis has shown that sequences of [+CG] consonants followed by rising tone do not occur in CV: syllables in Thai. High and rising tone both contain late H targets phonetically, and so a new restriction is posited where [+CG] onsets are banned preceding H tone, only when the H tone is linked to the second mora within the syllable. This constraint is motivated since late tonal targets are cross-linguistically preferred over early ones. The constraint, LIC-T-Rt, embodies this late tonal preference by exerting a preference to be right-aligned. The consonanttone restriction can thus be viewed as a case where the syllable’s tonal value is carried by the second mora, which acts as the “head” mora for the syllable.

Index Terms: tone, Thai, Optimality Theory, consonant-tone interaction

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Perkins, Jeremy (2014): "Non-local consonant-tone interaction in Thai", In TAL-2014, 112-115.