eesti teaduste
akadeemia kirjastus
SINCE 1965
Linguistica Uralica cover
Linguistica Uralica
ISSN 1736-7506 (Electronic)
ISSN 0868-4731 (Print)

Finnic Stop Gradation as an Effect of Mora Sharing; pp. 161-181

Full article in PDF format | doi:10.3176/lu.2011.3.01

Külli Prillop


Finnic radical stop gradation affected stop consonants in the onset position of unstressed syllables. The stops were weakened before closed syllables, and remained unweakened before open syllables. Stop gradation, conditioned by whether the following syllable was open or closed, is cross-linguistically extremely rare. In this paper, gradation is argued to be a phonetically natural intervocalic weakening process, which was blocked only in the onsets of open unstressed syllables due to restrictions on moraic structure. Under the proposed account, differences between Finnic languages in terms of gradation depend on the extent to which a specific language tolerated heavy unstressed syllables.


Allen, S. J., Miller, J. L. 1999, Effects of Syllable-Initial Voicing and ­Speaking Rate on the Temporal Characteristics of Monosyllabic Words. - The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 106, 2031-2039.


Broselow, E., Chen, S., Huffman, M. 1997, Syllable Weight. Convergence of Phonology and Phonetics. - Phonology 14, 47-82.

Bye, P. 2001, Virtual Phonology. Rule Sandwiching and Multiple Opacity in North Saami, Tromsø (PhD dissertation (manuscript), University of Tromsø).

Bye, P. 2005, Coda Maximisation in Northwest Saamic. - Nordic Journal of Linguistics 28, 189-221.

Campbell, L. 1999, Historical Linguistics, Cambridge, MA.

Castréen, M. A. 1838, De affinitate declinationum in lingua fennica, esthonica et lapponica, Helsingforsiae.

de Lacy, P. 2002, The Formal Expression of Markedness, Amherst (PhD dissertation (manuscript), University of Massachusetts).

Eek, A., Help, T. 1986, Rütminihked eesti keele kujunemisloos, Tallinn.

Eek, A., Meister, E. 1997, Simple Perception Experiments on Estonian Word Prosody: Foot Structure vs. Segmental Quantity. - Estonian Prosody: Papers from a Symposium, Tallinn, 71-99.

Eek, A., Meister, E. 2004, Foneetilisi katseid ja arutlusi kvantiteedi alalt. Takt, silp ja välde. - KK, 251-271, 336-357.

Ehala, M., 2003, Estonian Quantity. Implications for Moraic Theory. - Generative Approaches to Finnic and Saami Linguistics, Stanford, 51-80.

Gordon, M. 1997, A Fortition-Based Approach to Balto-Fennic-Sámi Consonant Gradation. - Folia Linguistica Historica 18, 49-79.

Gordon, M. 2002, A Phonetically-Driven Account of Syllable Weight. - Language 78, 51-80.

Gordon, M. 2009, Prominence and Gemination in Ingrian. - LU XLV, 81-100.

Green, A. D. 1997, The Prosodic Structure of Irish, Scots Gaelic, and Manx (PhD Dissertation (manuscript), Cornell University).

Hawkins, S, Nguyen, N. N. 2004, Influence of Syllable-Coda Voicing on the Acoustic Properties of Syllable-Onset /l/ in English. - Journal of Phonetics 32, 199-231.

Hayes, B. 1989, Compensatory Lenghtening on Moraic Phonology. - Linguistic Inquiry 20, 253—306

Hayes, B. 1995, Metrical Stress Theory. Principles and Case Studies, Chicago-London.

Hayes, B., Tesar, B., Zuraw, K. 2003, OTSoft 2.1 (Software ­package).

Hayes, B., Steriade, D. 2004, Introduction. The Phonetic Bases of Phonological Markedness. - Phonetically Based Phonology, Cambridge, 1-33.

Hyman, L. M. 1985, A Theory of Phonological Weight, Dordrecht.

Itkonen, T. 1969, Zur Wertung der finnisch-ugrischen Lautforschung. - UAJb. 41, 76-111.

Iva, S. 2010, Grade Alternation in Võro South Estonian. - LU XLVI, 161-174.

Kager, R. 1999, Optimality Theory, Cambridge.

Kawahara, S., Pangilinan M., Garvey K. 2011, Spectral Continuity and the Perception of Duration: Implications for Phonological Patterns of Sonorant Geminates (Submitted manuscript).

Kiparsky, P. 2006, Livonian Stød (Manuscript).

Kirchner, R. M. 2004, Consonant Lenition. - Phonetically Based Phonolo­­gy, Cambridge, 313-345.

Korhonen, M. 1988, The History of the Lapp Language. - The Uralic Languages. Description, History, and Foreign Influences, Leiden, 264-287.

Kraehenmann, A. 2001, Swiss German Stops. Geminates all over the Word. - Phonology 18, 109-145.

Laanest, A. 1982, Einführung in die ostseefinnischen Sprachen, Hamburg.

Laanest, A. 1986, Isuri keele ajalooline foneetika ja morfoloogia, Tallinn.

LaVoie, L. 2001, Consonant Strength. Phonological Patterns and Phonetic Manifestations, New York.

Maddieson, I. 1993, Splitting the Mora. - UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 83, California, 9-18.

McCarthy, J. 2000, The Prosody of Phase in Rotuman. - Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 18, 147-197.

McCarthy, J., Prince, A. 1993, Generalized Alignment. - Yearbook of Morphology, Dordrecht, 79-153.

McCarthy, J., Prince, A. 1995, Faithfulness and Reduplicative Identity. - University of Massachusetts Occasional Papers in Linguistics 18. Papers in Optimality Theory, Amherst, 249-384.

McIntosh, J. B. 1945, Huichol Phonemes. - International Journal of American Linguisticsl 11, 31-35.

Mohanan, T., Mohanan K. P. 2003, Towards a Theory of Constraints in OT. Emergence of the Not-so-unmarked in Malayalee English (Manuscript).

Morén, B. 2003, Weight Typology. An Optimality Theoretic Approach. - The Linguistic Review 20, 281-304.

Pikamäe, A. 1957, Tüveline astmevaheldus läänemeresoome keeltes ja lapi keeles, Tartu (TRÜT 50).

Posti, L. 1953, From Pre-Finnic to Late Proto-Finnic. Studies on the Development of the Consonant System. - FUF XXXI, 1-91.

Prince, A., Smolensky, P. 1993/2004, Optimality Theory. Constraint Interaction in Generative Grammar, Malden, MA.

Ravila, P. 1960, Probleme des Stufenwechsels im Lappischen. - FUF 33, 285-325.

Sammallahti, P. 1998, The Saami Languages. An Introduction, Káráshjohka.

Smith, J. 2008, Lenition and Fortition in Optimality Theory. - Lenition and Fortition, Berlin-New York, 519-560.

Sprouse, R. 1996, Vowels That Borrow Moras. Geminates and Weight in OT. - Proceedings of the Northeast Linguistic Society 26, 392-408.

Topintzi, N. 2010, Onsets. Suprasegmental and Prosodic Behavior, Cambridge.

Tranel, B. 1991, CVC Light Syllables, Geminates and Moraic Theory. - Phono­­lo­gy 8, 291-302.

van Santen, J. P. H. 1992, Contextual Effects on Vowel Duration. - Speech Communication 11, 513—546.

Vendetti, J. J., van Santen, J. P. H. 1998, Modeling Vowel Duration for Japanese Text-to-Speech Synthesis. - Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Sydney, 2043-2046.

Viitso, T.-R. 1981, Finnic Gradation: Types and Genesis. - СFU XVII, 176-185.

Viitso, T.-R. 2003, Rise and Development of the Estonian Language. - Estonian Language, Tallinn (Linguistica Uralica. Supplementary Series / Volume 1), 130-230.

Viitso, T.-R. 2007, Livonian Gradation: Types and Genesis. - LU XLIII, 45-62.

Viitso, T.-R. 2008, Läänemeresoome astmevaheldus: tüübid ja tekkimine. - Liivi keel ja läänemeresoome keelemaastikud, Tartu-Tallinn, 120-127.

Watson, J. C. E. 2007, Syllabification Patterns in Arabic Dialects. Long Segments and Mora Sharing. - Phonology 24, 335-356.

Wetzels, W. L., Mascaró, J. 2001, The Typology of Voicing and Devoicing. - Language 77, 207-244.

Wiik, K. 1997, The Uralic and Finno-Ugric Phonetic Substratum in Proto-Germanic. - LU XXXIII, 258-281.

Yip, M. 1996, Lexicon Optimization in Languages without Alternations. - Current Trends in Phonology. Models and Methods, Vol. 2, Salford, 757-788.

Zec, D. 2007, The Syllable. - The Cambridge Handbook of Phonology, Cambridge, 161-194.

Back to Issue