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A typological investigation of the role of morphology in syllable complexity

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Cadre de l'étude et objectifs

This postdoctoral research project, which is funded by an ASLAN postdoctoral grant (Axe de recherche WP2, Langage et Langues: origine, évolution et diversité; 2017-2019), investigates the role of morphology as a source for the distribution and diachronic development of complex syllable patterns observed in the world’s spoken languages. It addresses three research questions: (1) To what extent does morphological complexity account for complex syllable structures? (2) How do differing morphological strategies and functions contribute to synchronic variation in syllabic complexity? (3) To what extent do morphological processes contribute to the diachronic development of complex phonotactics? These questions are addressed within a survey of syllable patterns and their morphological properties in a sample of languages selected to span a wide range of genealogical, geographic, and morphosyntactic diversity. The sample includes languages from families and regions typically underrepresented in typological studies of syllable patterns, providing a broader and more inclusive perspective on a topic which until now has been systematically studied only in European languages. This project will result in a database of syllable patterns coded for phonological and morphological properties, as well as a data-driven typology in which to situate phonotactic patterns for language descriptivists who are interested in such issues.


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