A preliminary study of postlexical syllable structure in Japanese: a view from vowel

Manami Hirayama


Prosodic structure has been the subject of a great deal of discussion in phonology, but prosodic structure at the postlexical level has perhaps received less attention than at the lexical level. This paper sheds light on postlexical aspects of prosodic structure and investigates the question of what is permissible structure there; specifically, whether the prosodic structure in the postlexical domain differs from that found in the lexical domain. The process of interest is High Vowel Devoicing/Deletion in Tokyo Japanese. Kondo (e.g., 1997) analyzes this process as a change in syllable structure involving desyllabification. I test the hypothesis that desyllabification is present in this process. Preliminary results based on production and perception data suggest that, contrary to Kondo’s proposal, desyllabification is not present. Based on this, I conclude that the syllable structure is the same in the postlexical domain as in the lexical domain.


Japanese; Prosody; Syllable Structure; High Vowel Devoicing; High Vowel Deletion

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