Samoan root phonotactics: Digging deeper into the data

John Alderete, Mark Bradshaw

Abstract:  This article gives a detailed quantitative account of Samoan root phonotactics. In particular, count data is given in eleven tables of segment frequencies (i.e., consonants, short and long vowels, diphthongs) and frequencies of combinations of segments (i.e., syllable types, consonant-vowel combinations, V-V and C-C combinations across syllables). Systematic patterns of over- and under-representation of these structures in the lexicon are documented and related to prior research. Beyond the detailed frequency facts presented here, new empirical patterns documented include positional preferences for bilabials and non-labial sonorants, extensions of a known pattern of gradient vowel assimilation, and identification of a role for manner and segment order in consonant co-occurrence restrictions.

Keywords: Samoan, phonology, phonotactics, gradience, dissimilation, assimilation, frequency

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Full Citation: Alderete, John and Mark Bradshaw. 2013. Digging deeper into the data. Linguistic Discovery 11: 1-21.