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Title:Weakening Processes in the Optimality Framework
Authors:K.G. Vijayakrishnan
Abstract:Weakening Processes in the Optimality Framework


Processes of weakening may be subsumed under two heads namely, the loss

of marked feature specifications such as voicing, aspiration, place

specification or even the loss of an entire segment, and lenition,

exemplifying processes such as voicing, spirantization and sonorization.

This paper is an attempt at an analysis of both types of consonantal

weakening in the framework of Optimality Theory (henceforth OT). In

section 1 we take up the phenomenon of weakening as the loss of feature

specification and propose an analysis in terms of prosodic alignment and

featural markedness. Section 2 examines lenition in Tamil and proposes a

universal constraint 'Harmonic Sonorancy' which explains the process as

an assimilatory tendency to increase the sonority of consonants in the

neighbourhood of sonorants.

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Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1