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Title:Reinterpreting Transparency in Nasal Harmony
Authors:Rachel Walker
Abstract:Reinterpreting Transparency in Nasal Harmony

Rachel Walker

University of Southern California

This paper presents a unified account of nasal harmony (NH). Three

segment behaviors are examined: 'targets' become nasalized in NH,

'blockers' remain oral and block spreading, and 'transparent segments'

remain oral but do not block. Blocking patterns have previously been

observed to obey a bifurcational hierarchy, separating possible targets

(leftward) versus blockers (rightward) (e.g. Schourup 1972; Piggott

1992; Cohn 1993; also Pulleyblank 1989):

(1) i. Vowels ii. Glides iii. Liquids

iv. Fricatives v. Obstruent Stops (vi.)

The present study extends this nasalization hierarchy to all NH. A

complementarity provides motivation: there appear to be no examples for

(vi), where all segments, including obstruents are nasalized, and another

system is set apart from the others, one in which some obstruents act

transparent and remaining segments are targets. Also, target and

transparent segments are discovered to pattern together with respect to

the hierarchy in (1): if nasalization 'permeates' a segment (it is

targeted/transparent), all higher-ranked segments are permeated. To

explain this, descriptively transparent segments are analyzed as targets

of NH, following proposals that feature spreading occurs only between

strictly adjacent segments (Gafos 1996; Ni Chiosain & Padgett 1998).

The nasalization hierarchy is then reinterpreted as representing possible

bifurcations between 'permeable segments' and blockers. Systems with

transparency--where all segments are permeable--are slotted into step

(vi), achieving a unified typology of NH where the hierarchy exhaustively

limits variation. The scaling in (1) is formalized in Optimality Theory

as a fixed nasalized segment constraint hierarchy. Ranking a [Nasal]

spreading constraint at each point in relation to this nasalization

hierarchy gives the crosslinguistic variation, yielding typology from

factorial ranking (Prince & Smolensky 1993).

Permeable segments have two possible phonetic outcomes: nasal or oral.

The latter occurs on permeated segments near the extreme of

incompatibility with nasalization (e.g. voiceless obstruent stops).

This 'antagonistic transparency' (Archangeli & Pulleyblank 1994) is

analyzed as a 'derivational opacity' effect (in the sense of Kiparsky

1973). Generative antecedents (e.g. Vago 1976, Clements 1976) posit full

spreading at an abstract level of representation followed by application

of a rule deleting the feature on surface-transparent segments. The OT

analysis proposed here follows these accounts in calling on a fully-

spread representation; however, it employs only one level of input-output

mapping by drawing on co-candidate correspondence, known as 'Sympathy'

(McCarthy 1997; with extensions by Ito & Mester 1997). The derivational

effect arises in a correspondence mapping (Ident[Nasal]; McCarthy &

Prince 1995) between a fully-nasalized but unpronounceable phonological

output representation and a similar but phonetically-possible output.

This account thus achieves the phonetic discontinuity produced by

antagonistic feature combinations, while maintaining strict segmental

locality for feature linkage--segmental transparency is brought under the

umbrella of widespread derivational opacity and transparency-specific

representations, such as gapping, are obviated in the theory.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1