(388) Initial and Final Syllables in Tatar: from Phonotactics to Morphology

Alfiya Galieva, Zhanna Vavilova

GLOTTOMETRICSIssue 50, pp 57 – 75 (2021)https://doi.org/10.53482/2021_50_388


The paper proposes a methodology for analyzing the syllabic structure of Tatar words using fiction text data. Syllable construction rules are unique for each language as they are determined by the laws that govern its specific internal structure. However, the issue of the syllable finds a rather superficial description in Tatar grammars. Thus, possible correlations of the syllable structure with morphological features of the language will be examined in this paper. We analyze the distribution of syllable types in Tatar texts and represent their ranked frequencies and theoretical values fitted by means of the ZipfMandelbrot distribution. The main part of the study is devoted to inquiry into the structure of initial and final syllables. We proceed from the hypothesis that distributions of syllable structures in word-initial and word-final positions should be marked by statistically important differences due to discriminative structural features of stems and affixal chains. The study is based on a selection of obstruent and sonorant consonants. To evaluate statistical significance of these differences, the well-known χ2 test is applied.


syllable, syllable structure, the Tatar language, phonotactics and morphology, quantitative linguistics.