It was brought to my attention by a respected colleague that Richard Compton and B Elan Dresher (both of University of Toronto) co-authored a wonderfully insightful paper entitled, Palatalization and 'Strong' /i/ Across Inuit Dialects (2008)
In it there is an example provided from Barrow Inupiaq (p. 5):
Stem Gloss 'and a N' 'N plural' 'like a N'
a. iglu 'house' iglulu iglunik iglutun
b. iki 'wound' ikiʎu ikiɲik ikisun
c. ini 'place' inilu ininik initun
Rows a and c do not palatalize and realize the [-lu]; [-nik]; and, [-tun] without palatalization of the first consonants, whereas row b exhibits palatalization of the same morphemes after a proto-language strong /i/ in [iki-].
In my first post I stated that there is an 'empty' slot in the onset of the first mora that metathesize with the onset of the following mora in the presence of a strong /i/. But the example above (row b) seems to have broken the pattern that I apparently saw.
Or has it?
I think I figured out how to deal with the metathesis + mora analysis such that Compton-Dresher Barrow Inupiaq example (row b) can be subsumed.
iki 'wound' iki + tun 'like a wound' realized as ikisun
ok. Here is my revised stuff:
palatalization between morpheme boundaries can be formalized like this:
-plainly: the empty onset slot of the 1st mora may be treated as only 'provisionally' positional (subsegmental?) between morpheme boundaries (eg. iki + tun) when the slot is not occupied by an onset consonant in the final mora of the 1st morpheme (again, iki + tun -> ikisun).
In other words, the metathesis between the first palatal slot and the second that is palatalized is triggered regardless of whether the onset of the primary mora (ie, the one that contains V [+coronal]) is occupied or not (between morphemes or within a single morpheme), it just occurs after a strong i.
Now, I'm wondering if the process of metathesis actually converts the palatalized onset of the concatenated morpheme into a coda of the strong i or not? (do you have the answer?)