Guimarães, Maximiliano; Nevins, Andrew
January 2013
Organon (01026267);jan-jun2013, Vol. 28 Issue 54, p155
Academic Journal
In this paper, we demonstrate that Brazilian Portuguese phonemic nasal vowels are, as Mattoso Camara (1953, 1970) suggested, derived from an underlying sequence of oral vowel plus nasal consonant... or almost that. Two types of transformational language games reveal that Mattoso was 80% right: four of the nasal vowels are indeed derived from such a sequence, while nasal [ã] (strictly speaking, [ã)]) is the result of an underlying, inherently nasal vowel. We also propose a further revision to Mattoso's disegmental hypothesis for nasal vowels: rather than being a sequence of oral vowel plus nasal archiphoneme, we propose that they are specifi cally the result of a combination of oral vowel plus homorganic nasal glide (i.e. [~j)] or [~w)]). Th is nasal glide, however, is incompatible with \a)\, and moreover would disrupt the contrast between [ã], [ã)j], and [ãw]. As a result, [ã)] must be inherently underlyingly nasal, a result confi rmed through a variety of external evidence.


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