Journal article Open Access

Phonological Structure and Phonetic Duration: The Role of the Mora

Cohn, Abigal C.

In this paper, I investigate the role of the mora in providing an adequate account of wordinternal prosodic organization and its phonetic realization. I review several phonological arguments in favor of the mora, including the cross-linguistic pervasiveness of two-way weight contrasts, observed onset/rime asymmetries, the representation of weight bearing geminates vs. “doubled consonants”, and evidence for superheavy syllables in some languages.

I then present data showing phonetic manifestations of these patterns. The phonetic and phonological evidence support the conclusion that the mora serves as the connection or link between prosodic and segmental structure.

Moreover, the nature of these manifestations of moraic structure in the phonetics supports the view that phonetics is the implementation of phonological structure in that both the more abstract phonological categories (in this case the mora) and the phonetic implementation (in this case duration) work together to achieve the observed physical realization.

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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