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Title:Catalan Vowel Epenthesis as Evidence for the Free Ride Approach to Morphophonemic Learning
Authors:Maria-Rosa Lloret, Claudia Pons-Moll
Comment:Final version in Linguistic Inquiry. Winter 2016, Vol. 47, No. 1: 147-157, available at: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/toc/ling/47/1
Abstract:Although the discovery of underlying representations (URs) is a complex
task that may be conditioned by various factors (see, e.g., Albright
2002), it has traditionally been claimed to be quite straightforward
when the UR is revealed by productive and transparent morphophonemic
alternations and when there is a clear and regular phonological
condition in the language that justifies the disparities between the
presumed UR and the corresponding surface representation. Among
other possible scenarios (see, e.g., Albright 2008, Kager 2008, Pater
et al. 2012), uncertainty appears when these morphophonemic alternations
do not exist, when they are not fully productive and transparent,
or when more than one interpretation of the UR is possible. This is
the case of the URs of words beginning with esC- in Catalan, which
we discuss here.

The purpose of this squib is twofold. On the empirical side, we
provide new arguments for the epenthetic nature of the vowel in esC-
words, arising from the interaction between potential word-initial
vowel epenthesis and underapplication of vowel reduction
(VR) in Majorcan Catalan. On the theoretical side,
we show how Majorcan Catalan learners take a "free ride" (McCarthy
2005) in the process of constructing the UR of nonalternating forms
involving esC- initials by generalizing the pattern--and the subsequent
input-output mapping--observed in cases with transparent morphophonemic
alternations and a similar syllabification problem.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:phonology, UR, morphophonemic learning, free-ride, richness of the base, lexicon optimization, vowel epenthesis, Catalan
Article:Version 1