This paper examines a phenomenon present in phonological inventories that cannot be explained by current theories of inventory formation. Segment classes are correlated in size with the segment classes closest along the sonority hierarchy but only within the larger classes of obstruents, sonorants, and vowels. These results cannot be completely explained by feature differences. This paper provides evidence for the sonority hierarchy as a grammatical primitive which cannot be derived from binary feature values.
Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
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