VOWEL HIATUS RESOLUTION IN KAVALAN
This paper examines how vowel hiatus is handled in Kavalan, an endangered Formosan plains tribe language spoken by fewer than one hundred people on the eastern coast of Taiwan. Based on first-hand data, this paper shows that Kavalan is a language that typically disallows vowel sequences. Vowel hiatus is mainly resolved by gliding, but deletion occurs if the adjacent vowels are identical. While Kavalan generally disallows vowel hiatus, a low-high vowel sequence is tolerated before the word-final coda. The paper argues that the reason vowel hiatus unexpectedly occurs in such position is to prevent a post-vocalic vowel from gliding in a stressed syllable.
Key words: Kavalan, vowel hiatus, gliding, deletion, Optimality Theory