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Title:Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints on the Association of Moras: The Dependency between Vowel Length and Consonant Weight
Authors:Bruce Moren
Comment:106 pages
Abstract:Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints on the Association of Moras:

The Dependency between Vowel Length and Consonant Weight

Bruce Morén

University of Maryland, College Park

Many languages require that certain syllables be heavy. For

example, Icelandic requires that all stressed syllables be heavy,

Dutch requires that all syllables be heavy, and Italian requires that

stressed penultimate syllables be heavy. However, regardless of why

and in what context, there are specific strategies for ensuring that

this weight requirement is met: either vowels surface as long, or coda

consonants count for weight. Moreover, there is a dependency between

whether a language has distinctive vowel length or distinctive con-

sonant weight, and the type of strategy employed. In some cases,

vowel length is determined by the weight of the following consonant,

and in others, the weight of a consonant is determined by vowel length.

In this paper, I propose an analysis of the distribution of moraic

segments in certain stressed syllables in three dialects of English.

The three English dialects are: Received Pronunciation (RP) spoken in

Southern England, Standard American (SAE) spoken from South West New

England to the Pacific Coast, and Metropolitan New York (NYE). RP is

discussed because it has a system where all stressed vowels have dis-

tinctive length - vowel length always determines the weight of the

following consonant. SAE is discussed because it has some stressed

vowels which always have distinctive length, but others which always

surface as long (non-distinctive length). This is important because

it shows that within the same language there can be some vowels which

determine consonant weight, and some vowels whose length is determined

by the inability of consonants to bear weight. NYE is interesting

because it has a three-way classification of stressed vowels. Some

vowels have distinctive length, others only surface as long (non-dis-

tinctive length), and still others either have distinctive vowel

length or are long depending on the context. In other words, NYE has

a hybrid system (æ-tensing) where vowel length determines consonant

moraicity, and consonant moraicity determines vowel length. I will

argue that NYE æ-tensing is the result of a vowel length distinction

(at times neutralized) not found in other dialects of English. In

addition to the analyses of English, a preliminary analysis of Ice-

landic is provided in Chapter VI because in Icelandic stressed

syllables, vowel length is never distinctive but consonant weight is.

This is important because it shows a language in which consonant

weight always determines vowel length, and it fills in part of the

larger typology predicted here.

Using Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky, 1993) and Corres-

pondence Theory (McCarthy and Prince, 1995), I propose that the sys-

tems of syllable weight in the target languages can easily be accounted

for by interleaving faithfulness constraints on the moraic content of

segments with a universal markedness hierarchy (Zec, 1988) against

moraic segments.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1