Volume 11, Issue 4 (2020)                   LRR 2020, 11(4): 363-389 | Back to browse issues page

XML Persian Abstract Print


Download citation:
BibTeX | RIS | EndNote | Medlars | ProCite | Reference Manager | RefWorks
Send citation to:

Jam B. On The Pronunciation of Plural Morpheme /-h/ in Persian. LRR. 2020; 11 (4) :363-389
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-24530-en.html
Associate Professor of linguistics, Department of English, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran. , bashir.jam@lit.sku.ac.ir
Abstract:   (429 Views)
The morpheme /-hA/ is the most productive plural marker in Persian. Besides the formal style, its full form i.e., [hA] is pronounced in two environments in the spoken style; when it is attached to words ending in vowels /e/ and /A/, and when it emphasizes the notion “so many” in few idiosyncratic words. However, its /h/ is deleted when it is attached to words ending in a consonant or one of the three vowels /i/, /u/ and /o/. In the latter case, /h/ is replaced by an intervocalic glide to resolve hiatus. This research aimed at analyzing various environments and phonological processes which affect the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ within Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004). Idiosyncrasies which fail /h/ deletion, even when its conditioning environment is met, are analyzed using Lexically Specific Constraint theory (Pater, 2006, 2008) and Lexical-access Constraints theory (Borsma, 2001) as OT’s subtheories.
1. Introduction
The morpheme /-hA/ is the most productive plural marker in Persian which can attach to every noun. Its pronunciation is determined by different phonological and semantic factors. Apart from the formal style, its full form i.e., [hA] is pronounced in two environments in the spoken style; when it is attached to words ending in vowels /e/ and /A/, and when it emphasizes the notion “so many” in few idiosyncratic words. However, its /h/ is deleted when it is attached to words ending in a consonant or one of the three vowels /i/, /u/ and /o/. This research aimed at coming up with answers to the following questions:
1. What constraints and rankings affect the pronunciation of the plural marker /-hA/?                                                      2. How does Optimality Theory analyze idiosyncrasies which fail /h/ deletion, even when its conditioning environment is met?
2. Literature Review
Studies like Sadeghi (1969), Sadeghi & Arjang (1979), Lazard (1992) and Darzi & Ghadiri (2011) have discussed the morphological, syntactic and semantic properties of the plural morpheme /-hA/. However, the present research is the first study to discuss its phonological properties. Although classic Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004) is capable of analyzing various phonological environments and phonological processes which affect the pronunciation of the plural marker /-hA/, it is incapable of analyzing idiosyncrasies in which /h/ deletion fails to apply, even when its conditioning environment is met. According to Gouskova (2012) as exceptions follow a pattern which is inconsistent with the rest of the grammar, OT has difficulty establishing a uniform constraint ranking without additional mechanisms. Pater (2004) claims that an adequate theory of exceptions should be capable of expressing the distinction between regular and exceptional forms as well as between exceptional and ungrammatical forms. Thus, in order to deal with this challenge Pater (2006, 2008) proposes Lexically Specific Constraint Theory.  In addition, there are cases in which the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ is dependent on the interaction between phonology and semantics. Since classic Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004) has no mechanism to analyze phonology-semantics interface, Borsma (2001) proposes Lexical-access Constraints theory. Both Lexically Specific Constraint Theory and Lexical-access Constraints theory are OT’s subtheories.
3. Methodology
This research applies classic Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993/2004) to analyze various phonological environments and phonological processes which affect the pronunciation of plural marker /-hA/. However, idiosyncrasies which fail /h/ deletion, even when its conditioning environment is met, are analyzed using Lexically Specific Constraint theory (Pater, 2006, 2008). In addition, the cases in which the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ depends on the interface between phonology and semantics are analyzed using Lexical-access Constraints theory (Borsma, 2001).
                                                                   4. Results
In the informal style the /h/ in the plural marker deletes in most of the environments, i.e., when it is attached to words ending in a consonant or in one of the three vowels /i/, /u/ and /o/. Deletion of /h/ results in hiatus which is disallowed in Persian. Therefore, in order to resolve hiatus, intervocalic consonants [j] and [w] are inserted after words ending in /i/ and round vowels /u/ and/o/ respectively. In fact, these intervocalic glides replace /h/ because the sequence of one of the three vowels /i/, /u/ and /o/ and a glide which are all articulated in the mouth is easier to produce than the sequence of one of these three vowels and the glottal /h/ which is articulated in the glottis rather than the mouth.
When the plural morpheme /-hA/ is attached to words that end in /Ah/, the deletion of /h/ in the stem bleeds the deletion of /h/ in the plural marker, and vice versa. Because the deletion of both occurrences of /h/ in the stem and in the plural marker results in hiatus which as mentioned earlier is disallowed in Persian. Spencer (1996: 168) calls this situation mutual bleeding.
Apart from the formal style, the full form of the plural morpheme /-hA/ is pronounced when it attaches words ending in /e/ and /A/. In this environment no glide replaces the /h/ in the plural marker because these two vowels and the glides [j] and [w] do not agree in the feature [+high] or in the feature [+round]. Moreover, there is no way other Persian intervocalic consonants replace /h/ as they would make the pronunciation more difficult.
5. Discussion
This research aimed at coming up with answers to the two research questions mentioned earlier.The answer to the first research question is that the following ranking is capable of explaining the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/:
 ONSET >> *C.hPL[1] >> AGREE[round] >> AGREE[height] >> MAX, DEP    
Furthermore, the full form of the plural morpheme /-hA/ is pronounced when it emphatically expresses the sense of “so many” in some exceptional words. In these words the /h/ in the plural marker fails to delete although the phonological environment is ready for its deletion. 
           The answer to the second research question is that Optimality Theory applies Lexically Specific Constraint theory (Pater, 2006, 2008) to analyze idiosyncratic cases in which /h/ fails to delete, even when its conditioning environment is met. In addition, the cases in which the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ depended on the interface between phonology and semantics were analyzed using Lexical-access Constraints theory (Borsma, 2001). This indicates that OT is the only theory capable of explaining phonology–semantics interface.
6. Conclusion
This research is the first study to discuss the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ in Persian. Moreover, this paper was an attempt to explain idiosyncratic cases in which /h/ fails to delete, even when its conditioning environment is met. These idiosyncrasies included exceptionalities as well as the cases in which the pronunciation of the plural morpheme /-hA/ depended on the interaction between phonology and semantics.

 
Full-Text [PDF 97 kb]   (216 Downloads)    
Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Phonology and avatology
Published: 2020/10/1

Add your comments about this article : Your username or Email:
CAPTCHA

Send email to the article author