Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Word Final Coda Typology

Mark VanDam1
1Indiana University

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


Language families were chosen based on the classification of Ruhlen (1987) in order to determine the number and kind of word final coda types languages tend to permit. It was found that languages tend to prefer fewer word final segments. Indeed, the extreme case is that which allows no word final consonants at all, a very common description of languages of the world. Next, of those languages that do allow word final coda consonants, the phonological kind of constituency was investigated. It was discovered that languages tend to simultaneously prefer a manner hierarchy (nasal > liquid > obstruent > glide) and a place hierarchy (alveolar > velar > retroflex, tap). The languages in the sample are shown to bear out the predictions made by the quantity and quality tendencies. Finally, the results predict the universality of word final coda constituents preferred by the languages of the world.

Keywords: phonology; place of articulation; manner of articulation; universals; coda segment; typology



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