|Title:||UseListedError: a grammatical account of lexical exceptions in phonological acquisition|
|Comment:||To appear in NELS39 Proceedings|
|Abstract:||This paper presents an analysis of lexical exceptions in phonological acquisition – i.e. words that do not conform to a child’s currently-stable phonology – within an error-driven OT learning framework (Tesar and Smolensky 2000; Prince and Tesar 2004; Hayes 2004.) Two kinds of developmental lexical exceptions are discussed: 'fossilized' words that retain old pronunciations after the grammar has otherwise moved forward, and 'precocious' words that are pronounced more accurately than the rest of the grammar’s outputs.
The heart of the learning algorithm assumed here (see especially Tessier 2009) lies in its stored errors, which drive the learner to build each new grammar. Such a learner has two methods of producing words: using the current grammar to choose an optimal output among all the available options, or simply reproducing a stored error form, previously deemed optimal by an earlier grammar. The OT constraint proposed here to choose between these two methods is USELISTEDERROR (inspired by a different proposal in Zuraw 2000), which prefers the lazy option of reproducing stored errors.
The paper first walks through two examples to show how this error-rich learner, combined with the UseListed constraint, can derive both fossilized and precocious forms, and then discusses many of the outstanding questions on the topic.