Loquens, Vol 2, No 1 (2015)

Different distributions of contrastive vowel nasalization in Basque


https://doi.org/10.3989/loquens.2015.017

Ander Egurtzegi
University of the Basque Country, Spain

Abstract


Contrastive vowel nasalization is usually a consequence of the reinterpretation of the phonetic nasalization of a vowel due to coarticulation with an adjacent nasal consonant as originating in the vowel itself. Basque developed contrastive vowel nasalization after the loss of the nasalized laryngeal /?./ (from older intervocalic *n). This loss did not occur under the same circumstances in all dialects, and thus yielded different distributions of contrastive nasalization. This paper discusses the development of two different patterns of contrastive vowel nasalization, namely those of Zuberoan and Roncalese dialects.

While modern Zuberoan shows contrastive vowel nasalization only in the last syllable, the now extinct Roncalese dialect had phonologically nasalized vowels in any syllable of the word. In addition, these two dialects possessed different nasalized vowel inventories. Other Basque dialects with attested contrastive vowel nasalization, such as Old Bizkaian, are discussed as well.

Although the presence of contrastive vowel nasalization in Basque is known in the literature (see Hualde, 1993, and Michelena, 1977/2011, for Zuberoan; and Michelena, 1954/2011, for Roncalese), this paper presents new analyses of vowel nasalization of two neighboring dialects of Basque, Zuberoan and Roncalese.

Keywords


nasalization; vowel inventories; historical phonology; Basque

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