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Title:On the sources of opacity in OT: Coda processes in German
Authors:Junko Ito, Armin Mester
Abstract:On the sources of opacity in OT: Coda processes in German

Junko Ito & Armin Mester

University of California, Santa Cruz

Phonological opacity poses a well-known problem for the standard version

of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993) making use only of

elementary markedness constraints and faithfulness constraints. A number

of remedies have been proposed in the literature, most notably, Sympathy

Theory (McCarthy 1998) and level-ordered OT (Kiparsky 1998). This paper

takes a different approach and starts out with two questions regarding

opacity: Which elements of current OT-architecture can in principle

give rise to opaque output patterns? To what extent do the patterns of

opacity derivable in this way cover the empirically existing patterns?

Extending the proposal by Lubowicz 1998 on constraints locally

conjoining markedness and faithfulness (M&F constraints) as sources of

the derived environment syndrome, we show that M&F constraints are also

responsible for certain types of opaque output patterns. As its

empirical basis, this paper studies the ways in which a group of coda

conditions play out in the phonology of German, giving rise to processes

whose interaction is opaque in various ways. Sympathy-based analyses

turn out to be associated with unappealing stipulations and otherwise

unmotivated rankings. The opacity is shown to arise, rather, in a very

natural and simple way out of specific conjunctions of markedness and

faithfulness constraints that are otherwise operative in German

phonology. A discussion of further theoretical ramifications concerning

opacity and M&F-conjunctions concludes the paper.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1