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Colorado Research in Linguistics

Document Type

Working Paper

Abstract

When reexamined in the light of new and additional data, Wichita surface phonology is seen to be somewhat different from that described by Paul L. Garvin in 1950. The three-vowel system has only height contrasts, no front-back dimension; two vowels have voiceless allophones in word-final position; the phonemic consonant system has neither labials nor nasals (which agrees with Garvin's conclusions), but does contain /y/ (which Garvin excluded). No vowel clusters exist, but up to five consonants may occur in sequence. The prosodic system includes a pitch contrast and a three-way length contrast for vowels. Each of these topics is discussed in detail, first to document an unusual phonological system, and secondly to present scholars with additional facts about Wichita.

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