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Title:Markedness and lexical typicality in Mandarin acceptability judgments
Authors:James Myers
Comment:The official version will appear soonish at http://www.ling.sinica.edu.tw/publ_j_en.asp.htm
Length:24 pages
Abstract:It has long been known that native speakers judge nonlexical forms as more acceptable the more lexically typical they are (i.e., similar to real words). It has also been shown that speakers judge less marked (i.e., universally more natural) structures as more acceptable than more marked structures. In this study, we investigate for the first time how markedness and lexical typicality interact, using data from a large corpus of experimentally collected Mandarin native-speaker judgments of nonlexical syllables. We defined the lexical typicality of a test item in terms of how many lexical Mandarin syllables share the item's onset consonant, and defined markedness in terms of how many phoneme inventories have this consonant cross-linguistically. Consistent with prior research, both markedness and lexical typicality improved acceptability, but the two factors also interacted positively: the lexical typicality effect was stronger for less marked forms than for more marked forms. The same interaction appears in a reanalysis of the English nonword judgment data of Hayes and White (2013). This interaction is not predicted by standard Optimality Theory, but it can be formalized with conjunctive coordination, the inverse of the more familiar local conjunction, whereby a coordinated constraint is obeyed if and only if both of its component constraints are obeyed.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:markedness, acceptability experiments, Mandarin, English, Optimality Theory
Article:Version 1