Revisiting Tohono O’odham high vowels

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Tohono O’odham is a language of much phonological interest from a typological perspective. For example, the language has pre-aspiration, multiple patterns of reduplication, morphological truncation, and displays prosodic inconsistency with a quantity-insensitive stress system that nonetheless employs multiple strategies in the prosodic morphology to enhance that prominent syllable. This paper utilizes a variety of sources of evidence, spanning multiple generations of speakers, including Hill and Zepeda’s massive work documenting Tohono O’odham dialects in the 1980s, which remains unpublished for the most part. I focus on the phonological features and distribution of vowels in Tohono O’odham – and argue that the features [high] and [front] interact in this language in previously undocumented ways.


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