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Aspects of Release and Nonrelease in Phonology
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This dissertation investigates the mechanisms of stop release and nonrelease and their effects in the sound patterns of various languages. The first area of exploration is the positional asymmetry arising from different distributions of laryngeally-marked stops, fricatives and affricates. It is argued that incorporation of the notion of release and nonrelease is needed for a better account of the phenomenon. Empirical evidence for such a claim is presented through examinations of many nonreleasing languages such as Korean, Mishmi, Boro, Tod (and other Himalayan tribal languages), Thadou, Garo, Limbu, Mising, Cantonese, Zhanglu Kam, Thai, Tai-Khamti, Vietnamese, Khmer, West Tarangan, Efik, Kana, and Ibibio. Facts found in the above languages especially advocate that voicing is directly related to release/nonrelease, and further that there is interdependency between distributions of fricatives/affricates and release/nonrelease of the stops in the same position. The second focus of exploration is to reveal that stop release/nonrelease is closely bound to patterns of place assimilation. Analytic comparison of Korean and Hindi shows that a released stop does not lose its place feature, which ultimately explains directionality and occurrence vs. non-occurrence of the place assimilation in each language. The third area of the focus is specific strategies for stop release and nonrelease invoked differently in different languages. It will be claimed that nonreleasing languages listed above have a scheme different from that of other languages such as English, German, and Gujarati. Finally, it will be argued that distribution of spirants in Assamese is associated with release of the stops in the language. Throughout the investigation, phonetic justification will be sought for each phenomenon in question as an attempt to clarify the phonetics-phonology interface.