6
CONSONANT-VOWEL INTERACTIONS

In this chapter I return to the question of place features for vowels and consonants, with the goal of developing a better understanding of the mechanisms by which place features of consonants and vowels interact. Since this topic has already received a great deal of attention in Chapter 1, I limit myself here to four cases of consonant-vowel interactions found in various Armenian dialects. Perhaps the most interesting such case is the phenomenon of Adjarian's Law, which involves interactions between consonant voicing and vocalic backness. I suggest that this superficially surprising phenomenon results from the interaction of consonantal and vocalic ATR values. I then consider interactions between vowels and uvular consonants, which also involve the activity of individual features shared by consonants and vowels. Finally, I turn to interactions between vowels and nasal and coronal consonants, which do not appear to involve simple feature interactions of the types considered in the previous two sections. I ultimately conclude that RRT, though capable of accounting for many types of consonant-vowel interactions in a straightforward manner, is (like other theories) forced to assume a number of equivalencies between consonantal and vocalic features. In the case of nasal interactions, I suggest that the feature [+nasal] can be interpreted as [+high] in vocalic contexts. Coronal-back interactions, on the other hand, appear to involve an equivalency relationship between coronality in consonants and [-back] in vowels (see Calabrese, 1992).


6.1. ATR--VOICE INTERACTIONS

In this section I present two cases of interaction between consonantal and vocalic [ATR] values found in modern Armenian dialects. The first, Adjarian's Law, involves the fronting of vowels by voiced consonants. The second involves the voicing of stops by adjacent [+ATR] vowels in the Aresh dialect.


6. 1. 1. Adjarian's Law1

( 1901) first observed that the Armenian dialect of Van shows an unexpected interaction between voicing in consonants and backness in vowels, wherein vowels surface as [-back] after a specific set of voiceless stops, specifically those descended from Common Armenian voiced stops. Thus, the

____________________
1
The discussion in this section is based on Vaux ( 1996a).

-174-

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The Phonology of Armenian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Survey of Armenian Phonology 7
  • 2 - Theoretical Background 35
  • 3 - Syllabification 61
  • 4 - Stress Assignment and Metrical Structure 132
  • 5 - Vowel Harmony 151
  • 6 - Consonant-Vowel Interactions 174
  • 7 - Laryngeal Features and Consonant Shifts 211
  • 8 - Prosodic Phenomena 242
  • References 264
  • Index 273
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