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Title:Mostly Predictable: Cyclicity and the Distribution of Schwa in Itelmen
Authors:Jonathan David Bobaljik
Comment:16pp (8 sheets, postscript 2-up layout)
Abstract:The Itelmen language shows many instances of regular schwa/zero

alternations. Even though the language permits quite extensive

consonant clusters, I argue in this paper that the alternating

schwas (and perhaps all instances of schwa) are epenthetic;

schwa is inserted to break up a disfavoured consonant cluster.

The rule which inserts schwa must apply cyclically in the

verbal system, but non-cyclically in the nominal system.

Apparent examples of cyclic rule application are problematic

for non-derivational, constraint-based approaches to phonology,

such as many versions of Optimality Theory (OT). Thus, much

recent work has been devoted to reanlayzing purported examples

of cyclicity from an O.T. perspective. While it may be possible

to devise an account of the Itelmen data in terms of parallel

constraint evaluation, current O.T. approaches are insufficient;

in particular, the best candidate for an explanation of the

Noun/Verb differences (Base Identity) makes exactly the wrong

predictions for Itelmen.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1