This paper argues against Labrune's (2012) analysis of Japanese as a purely moraic language. In particular, in addition to the facts pointed out by Kawahara (2016) for the syllabic analysis of Japanese, it adds pieces of evidence on the patterns of Initial Lowering in a series of consecutive vowels at the beginning of a word, which cannot be accounted for in a purely moraic analysis. Also, the paper points out that the patterns of vocalic alternation and "syllabification" of prenasal consonants in foreign borrowings into Japanese cannot be explicable using Labrune's analysis purely in terms of a hierarchy of moras. The paper reconfirms that the notion syllable is at work even in a language like Japanese in which it appears that moras are phonologically prevalent.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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