UC Santa Cruz
This paper and the next investigate the status of feature classes like
Place and Laryngeal in featural phonology. In a departure from Feature
Geometry, I argue that constraints mentioning such classes are
gradiently violable in the sense given within Optimality Theory. The
result is what I call partial class behavior: under compulsion of a
constraint mentioning an entire feature class, only a proper subset of
the relevant features spread, for reasons of markedness, locality or
whatever. This idea leads to feature class generalizations that are
not visible to Feature Geometry.
ROA-112 strengthens the evidence for a class Color (cf. Odden's 1991
[back]/[round]), arguing that the copatternings of [back] and
[round] harmonies in Turkic and other languages represent instances
of Color harmony, formerly unrecognized only because Color spreading
is often gradiently violated, leading to partial class behavior. This
paper also argues for an understanding of segment transparency as
segment participation, following work of Smolensky and McCarthy.
ROA-113 focusses on nasal place assimilation and has two goals. The
first is to demonstrate the robust existence of partial class
behavior in nasal place assimilation, and so further motivate the
ideas outlined above. The second is to better understand nasal
place assimilation itself. This latter goal leads to proposals for
the employment of a release feature in phonology (following Steriade)
and for very general spreading constraints.
ROA-113 supersedes ROA-112 in some technical details, and the two
papers should be read together.