Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Linguistics Program

Committee Chair

Mizuki Miyashita

Commitee Members

Leora Bar-el, Naomi Shin


Allomorphic Variation, Definite Articles, Jersey, Sonority, Sonority Hierarchy, Syllables


University of Montana


Allomorphic variation is a common linguistic phenomenon in Jersey (Jersey Norman French). Definite articles in Jersey each have at least two allomorphs. The occurrence of each allomorph has been attributed to the composition of word initial syllable following the article (Liddicoat 1994). Instead of using a ruled-based approach, this thesis examines the variation found among Jersey definite articles and uses sonority-based principles to analyze the allomorphic variation. Using Jersey phonotactics, this thesis first puts forth a Jersey specific sonority hierarchy and then utilizes that hierarchy and principles of syllabification to syllabify phrases containing definite articles. Then using sonority based principles, such as the Sonority Sequencing Principle and Syllable Contact Law, this thesis analyzes the syllabified phrases. The analysis identifies the sonority based conditions that trigger the allomorphic variation found in the data. This thesis contributes to the field of linguistics in several ways. It supports the use of both the Universal Sonority Hierarchy and language specific sonority hierarchies. This thesis also supports the practice of using available data sources for analysis. The analysis of a described but analyzed phenomenon contributes valuable information to the general knowledge of Jersey and sonority. Finally, this thesis also serves as an important resource for the study of Norman dialects in Europe such as Guernsey, Sark and Norman, as Jersey is a member of this linguistic group. This thesis contributes to both the field of Jersey linguistics and to the field of theoretical linguistics, while accounting for the allomorphic variation of Jersey definite articles.



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