Vowel Hiatus in Surani Kurdish

Document Type : Research Paper


M.A. in General Linguistics in Imam Khomeini International University Qazvin


This paper addresses the different repair strategies applied in the Surani Kurdish language for the correction of vowel hiatus, cross-linguistically known as a phonologically marked structure. Data related to vowel hiatus were collected, classified and treated by Optimality Theory. Examination of the data revealed that Surani Kurdish uses three different phonological strategies to repair vowel hiatus which arises during word formation processes. These strategies are epenthesis, deletion and glide formation. The most common phonological pattern applied to prevent V+V sequences from being realized in surface form is glide ([w] and [j]) epenthesis. However, glide epenthesis is not applied in two conditions: (1) when the vowels are both [+low], in which case the second vowel (V2), i.e., the vowel belonging to the suffix, is deleted from the input form; (2) when the vowel in the suffix is /i/, in which case the vowel is turned into the glide [w] through the glide formation process. In an OT account of the phonological data concerned, we introduced a new set of Faithfullness constraints which are sensitive to the morphological information of the input form. Using these constraints, we are able to explain how each strategy turns to be the most optimal pattern in the morpho-phonemic condition in which it applies.


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Volume 8, Issue 1
June 2017
Pages 117-136
  • Receive Date: 28 January 2017
  • Revise Date: 23 April 2017
  • Accept Date: 27 May 2017
  • First Publish Date: 23 August 2017