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Title:It is all downhill from here: a typological study of the role of Syllable Contact in Romance languages
Authors:Claudia Pons-Moll
Comment:To appear in: Probus. International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics, 23.1. Extended version available at: http://webs2002.uab.es/clt/publicacions/reports/pdf/GGT-08-06.pdf
Abstract:The main purpose of this paper is to show that Syllable Contact is responsible for the application of an extensive set of processes drawn from Romance languages and to explore the nature and effects of this constraint within Optimality Theory (OT) on the basis of the analysis of these phenomena. All the processes under examination entail a change in manner of articulation and are the following: a) regressive manner assimilation in some varieties of Catalan and in Languedocian Occitan, b) alveolar fricative rhotacism in Majorcan Catalan, dialects of Sardinian and dialects of Galician and c) alveolar fricative gliding in Languedocian Occitan.

The analysis of these processes leads to two important theoretical implications. First, it provides strong empirical evidence that SYLLABLE CONTACT cannot be regarded as a single constraint which categorically bans coda-onset clusters with rising sonority, but rather should be broken down into a universal hierarchy of constraints targeting all possible sonority distances between adjacent heterosyllabic segments, as originally suggested by Murray and Vennemann (1983) and implemented within OT in Bat-El (1996), Gouskova (2001, 2002, 2004), Baertsch (2002) and Baertsch and Davis (2003, 2005, 2007) (see Pons 2004a, 2005a). Second, it sheds new light on the ordering within the sonority scale of certain classes of sounds, namely liquids and obstruents, whose positions have traditionally been controversial.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1