phrasal pause, again

Henry Churchyard churchh at
Fri Jun 29 16:48:33 EDT 2001

> Subject: phrasal pause, again
> From: decaen at (Vincent DeCaen)
> Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2001 09:21:54 -0400 (EDT)

> pause: a positional phenomenon, as you say: governed by syntax
> interfacing with prosody.  i can show the distribution using
> three-fold contrasts, e.g., )F^T.FH, )A^T.FH, and )AT.F^H. the first
> two are pausal, and are governed by phonosyntax.  the nature of the
> vowel is a function of the half-verse (silluq always; athnakh
> usually--but in poetry only if it marks the half-verse). so that
> looks neat and clean, and consistent with what you're saying, right?
> let's define this as "pause", period.  the precise trigger is
> something i'm working intensively on....  what i'm finding is that
> for certain variants, under certain configurations, if they are
> phrased together with a word "in pause", they also show a pausal
> variation.  concretely, in tiberian aramaic, pausal variants [i] vs
> [e]: [i] conforms for the most part to a "pausal" distribution;
> there are interesting cases where [i] appears regularly immediately
> before a word in "pause". the covering law for [i] vs [e] appears to
> pick out a two-word "pausal phrase". there is even one case where
> both words can and so do show [i], which is cute.  but as you say,
> the idea is already kicking around; and i'm very grateful for the
> tips... i'll have to look at goerwitz again.  V --

As I said before, I didn't find "pause by attraction" to be a major
factor in the distribution of "minor pausal" stress-shift blocking in
Hebrew that I studied in my dissertation (and I don't think Goerwitz
considers it to be a major factor either).  I didn't study Aramaic at
all for my dissertation, and can't claim any great familiarity with
it, but I do know that Tiberian Biblical Armaic doesn't seem to show
any pausal stress-shift blocking at all.  I'm not sure that the verb
final-stressed-closed-syllable _i_ vs. _e_ alternation has been
recognized as a pausal phenomenon (it's not mentioned in Rosenthal's
grammar in the section on pausal phenomena).  If you find an
interesting prosodically-dependent distribution, and yet this
prosodically-dependent distribution doesn't show much similarity to
that of the usual types of pausal forms, then it might be better to
refrain from calling the phenomenon that you've discovered "pausal" at
all, and instead coin a new term for it...

By the way, the Rhythm rule (n at siga) tends to apply within two-word
prosodic phrases (though only to the first word of the phrase, of

Henry Churchyard   churchh at

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