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Armin Mester

Armin Mester of University of California Santa Cruz will speak at the UCSD Linguistics Department Colloquium on April 13, 2009, at 2:00 pm in AP&M 4301.

Gemination and the prosody of loanwords in Japanese

In Japanese loanwords from English, obstruents that occupy coda position (or are ambisyllabic) in the source language sometimes appear geminated, sometimes not:

cap > kyap.pu        BUT     captain  > kya.pu.ten
bat > butter > ba.taa
listen > ris.sun listener >
tax > tact >
frog > log >

Predicting when gemination occurs, and when not, is a well-known problem, and no simple solution based on properties of the English inputs has emerged. This talk has two main goals: (i) To account for both newly established and well-known generalizations regarding obstruent gemination in Japanese loanwords. (ii) To demonstrate the extent to which loanword formation is constrained by the native (Yamato and Sino-Japanese) phonology.