Vertical, monovocalic and other impossible vowel systems: a review of the articulation of the Kabardian vowels.

Sidney A J Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The North West Caucasian language Kabardian has a minimal vowel system, the analysis of which has engendered significant controversy. Phonetically, Kabardian is interesting for the extensive assimilation of its few vowel phonemes to the surrounding consonants. Two published descriptions of these assimilations by J. C. Catford ("The Kabardian Language," Maitre Phonetique, 3rd series, 1942, 77, 15-18) & A. H. Kuipers (Phoneme and Morpheme in Kabardian, The Hague: Mouton, 1962) are compared, & the articulatory processes involved are reinterpreted in terms of gestures that shape & tune the vocal tract. The unexpected complexity of the assimilations is accounted for through the spectral ambiguity of some palatovelar & pharyngovelar configurations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
JournalStudia Linguistica
Volume45
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1991

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics

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