|Title:||Weakening Processes in the Optimality Framework|
|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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