|Title:||Phonological analysis of Japanese adaptations of foreign words|
|Comment:||These, University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle, around 200 pages, in French|
|Abstract:||Phonological analysis of Japanese adaptations of foreign words (1997)
University of Sorbonne-Nouvelle
We analyse "Japanese adaptations" of foreign words (mostly from French
and English). By "adaptation" we mean the process whereby Japanese
native speakers adjust foreign words in such a way that the resulting
forms are acceptable as Japanese sound sequences. Forms of foreign
origin such as adapted forms often possess characteristics not found
in native words. A comparison between an adapted form and the
corresponding word in the source language reveals the rules and
constraints of Japanese as well as Universal Grammar (UG). Our main
goals are to show: 1) the significance of the constraint-based
approach to phonology; 2) the role of UG in the adaptation process.
Data are analysed in the Optimality Theory (OT) (Prince &
Smolensky 1993, McCarthy & Prince 1993ab, 1995). OT defines the
grammar of a particular language as a hierarchy of universal
constraints. The constraints are divided into two broad categories:
structural constraints reflecting unmarked forms as defined by UG and
Faithfulness constraints for preservation of input
properties. Interactions between properties of foreign sounds and the
strength of the structural constraints in Japanese as well as some
effects of UG become visible in adaptation processes.
Some of the major results are as follows. The accent of
English adaptations reflects the source while French adaptations
assign their accent by default. This is analysed in terms of a
trochaic footing with nonfinality -a metrical structure that previous
research has shown to play a role in hypocoristics, truncations and so
on. Reflections of UG constraints that appear in the accentuation
include the avoidance of prominence on epenthetic vowels.
In the adaptation of dental plosives before high vowels, a UG
preference for voiceless affricates over voiced ones emerges. The
input sequence /tu/ is adapted with an affricate [ts] while /du/
adaptation avoids the affrication. When the vowel is epenthetic, the
constraint barring a [tu] sequence and faithful rendering of the
plosive are respected by lowering the vowel to [o].
We also study the gemination for input word final consonants
as a result of the UG stem-syllable edge alignment. The type of
gemination observed (vowel or consonant) is constrained by the length
of the preceding vowel and also by the UG preference for voiceless
over voiced geminates.