Marked Geminates as Evidence of Sonorants in Sylheti Bangla: An Optimality Account
Keywords:gemination, sonorant, obstruent, constraints, optimality theory
This paper analyzes the universal concept that sonorants are marked geminates in the gemination process of Sylheti Bangla (henceforth SHB). Evidence from SHB suggests that when SHB speakers confront borrowed words with sonorant initial or obstruent initial heterosyllabic clusters, it is invariably the sonorant that gets assimilated. In addition, SHB data indicates that when faced with choices between two sonorants of the heterosyllabic clusters, speakers opt for the less sonorous one for gemination. Given this phenomenon, the proposal that sonorant gemination is absent in SHB could not be the ultimate one as it receives additional support from the fact that SHB also possesses many underlying sonorant geminations. Based on this investigation the hierarchy of the constraints *GG*RR>>*LL*NN is proposed for analyzing the gemination process in SHB. Finally, this paper illustrates some additional constraints in the SHB gemination process found to be necessary.
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