Final obstruent voicing in Lakota: Phonetic evidence and phonological implications
Juliette Blevins (The Graduate Center, CUNY), Ander Egurtzegi (CNRS – IKER UMR-5478) & J. Ullrich (The Language Conservancy)
Final obstruent devoicing is a common sound pattern in the world’s languages, found in a wide range of languages including Catalan, Dutch, Lithuanian, and Zaza (Blevins 2006; Iverson & Salmons 2011). This sound pattern constitutes a clear case of parallel or convergent phonological evolution. In contrast, final obstruent voicing is claimed to be extremely rare, with some approaches explicitly predicting its non-existence (Kiparsky 2006, 2008). In contrast, phonetic-historical accounts explain skewed patterns of voicing in terms of common phonetically-based devoicing tendencies, allowing for rare cases of final-obstruent voicing under special conditions (Blevins 2006, 2015).
In this talk, phonetic and phonological evidence is offered for final-obstruent voicing in Lakota, an indigenous Siouan language of the Great Plains of North America. In Lakota, oral stops /p/, /t/, and /k/, are regularly pronounced as [b], [l], and [ɡ] in word- and syllable-final position when phrase-final devoicing and pre-obstruent devoicing do not occur (e.g. tópa ‘four’, tób ‘four (cont.)’, tóbtopa ‘by fours’). We first present a phonetic study that tests whether /p/ and /k/ show phonetic voicing in syllable-final position as well as properties of oral stops, in order to rule out interpretations of voicing as a secondary feature of lenition. Then, we offer a historical account of this unlikely sound pattern of final stop voicing, and an explanation for its rarity: final voicing is a consequence of an earlier, conditioned intervocalic voicing of *p, *t, *k to [b], [d], [ɡ], preserved only when the final vowel was devoiced or lost. Under this account, the historical origins for final stop voicing are tied to retiming of the final vowel gesture.
Yoon Mi Oh (Aoju University, Seoul)