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Title:Past Participles in Mòcheno: allomorphy, alignment and the distribution of obstruents
Authors:Birgit Alber
Comment:This paper will appear in: Michael Putnam (ed.), German-language speech islands: generative and structural approaches, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Abstract:Mòcheno, a German variety spoken in Trentino (Italy), displays an interesting case of phonologically conditioned suppletive allomorphy in past participle formation. In this paper I show that selection of the two involved allomorphs can be explained as the result of satisfaction of wellformedness constraints. We furthermore observe that the constraint-hierarchy responsible for allomorph selection consists of partial hierarchies which are active also in other parts of the Mòcheno grammar. This means that an analysis in terms of optimization is not only possible, but also desirable. By adopting an alternative analysis in terms of subcategorization of the allomorphs for a certain phonological context, the relationship between the distribution of past participle allomorphs and other pieces of the Mòcheno grammar would remain opaque.

In the analysis I show that past participle formation in Mòcheno involves a variety of strategies, from absence of a prefix, to affrication, to prefixing a CV-prefix ga-. I propose that two allomorphs are involved in the process, a subsegment [-cont, -voice] and a prefix ga- and that the distribution of the two allomorphs is regulated by a hierarchy of wellformedness constraints. This hierarchy in turn consists of two independent partial hierarchies, which are active in the grammar of the language in general, where they are responsible for morphoprosodic alignment at left stem edges and for the distribution of obstruents, respectively.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonology, dialectology
Article:Version 1