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Die Längenhierarchie: Zum Bau der graphematischen Silbe 

Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 218
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Minuscules of the Latin alphabet can be divided into letters with length (for example ) and letters without length (for example ). This observation leads to the concept of a graphematic syllable. While plosives, which correspond to graphemes with length, occur at the syllable edge, vowels, corresponding to graphemes without length, occur in the syllable core. In this paper, we develop a (so-called) length hierarchy in analogy to the phonological sonority hierarchy. Since so far, the feature 'length' has been binary, we present a scalar feature of length required by the hierarchy. Every letter is divided into a head and a coda (s. Primus 2006), the form of the head representing the position in the hierarchy. Our length hierarchy operates with graphematic properties exclusively, thus avoiding phonological ones. Based on the length hierarchy, a graphematic principle of syllable structure can be formulated (analogous to a phonological principle of syllable structure, known as the sonority sequencing principle). Although this idea is developed for German, we show how we can deal with the problematic , which represents a potential syllable core with length in English.