GENGO KENKYU (Journal of the Linguistic Society of Japan)
Online ISSN : 2185-6710
Print ISSN : 0024-3914
Is the Setting-up of the High-central Vowel /i/ Really Necessary?
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Volume 1997 (1997) Issue 111 Pages 84-106

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In Miyara & Arakawa(1994), the authors claim that a sixth vowel, the high-central /i/, should be added to the traditionally established fivevowel system of the Okinawan dialect of the Ryukyu Islands.They then set up a so-called absolute neutralization rule that converts the underlying /i/ into the phonetic[i].I raised a big question against such an analysis(Shimoji, 1995), arguing that this too abstract /i/ could be dispensed with completely only if we were to draw a clear line of demarcation between synchrony and diachrony.
Miyara(1996)is the answer to mycriticism.In this article, Miyara presents“evidence”to support the abstract /i/ analysis, also citing Chomsky & Halle(1968)and Kenstowicz(1994)for supporting such an analysis.Miyara then claims that the setting up of the underlying /i/ is nothing unusual.The present paper is a throw-back criticism of Miyara (1996) and the re-examination of an abstract approach which adopts an absolute neutralization rule in the description of a language.

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