Syllable structure in Tatar: from data to modeling

Alfiya Galieva


A quantitative analysis of syllable structures is the first and necessary stage to build the syllable model of a language and further theoretical generalizations. The paper studies the syllable structure of Tatar words on text data. The author abandoned the idea of using dictionaries as a data source, because dictionaries contain a large amount of loanwords with uncommon syllabic structures; besides dictionaries fix words in their initial form and do not reflect affixal chains of words. The work is based on distinguishing sonorant and obstruent consonants. The analysis disclosed that in Tatar the syllables of simple structure prevail, the open (of cv and sv types) and closed ones (of cvs, svs, cvc, svc types). Complex intervocal clusters are not frequent; joining inflection affixes in many cases leads to redistributing consonant groups into syllables of a simpler structure. The distribution of syllables types in monosyllables in the text is largely determined by the number of frequently used functional words and pronouns. The main focus of the work is on the patterns of the initial and final syllables of words. The author ascertained the dissimilar structure of the onsets and codas in the initial and final syllables, caused by different phonological organization of stems and affixal chains.

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