|Title:||Geminates, the OCP and the Nature of CON|
|Comment:||Rutgers University dissertation, 1999|
|Abstract:||Geminates, The OCP and The Nature of CON
Edward W. Keer
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
This dissertation is concerned with the Obligatory Contour Principle
(OCP) and its relationship to the representation of geminate consonants.
The OCP blocks lexical forms with pair geminates, a pair of adjacent
identical melodies. Therefore geminates must be represented as single
melodies associated to two timing units. The OCP is also active on
outputs, blocking phonology from creating pair geminates. The dual
nature of the OCP (as both input and output constraint) is derived from
the interaction of ranked and violable output constraints in an
Optimality-theoretic grammar. In this analysis, no input restrictions
The OCP is interpreted as a constraint on the set of constraints in UG
(CON). The lexical OCP is accounted for by positing that no faithfulness
constraint requires maintaining a distinction between one segment and
two identical adjacent segments. The output OCP is accounted for by
positing that output markedness constraints universally prefer one
segment to two. The interaction of these markedness and faithfulness
constraints neutralizes the contrast between pair and single geminates.
One consequence of the analysis is that no specific OCP constraint is
required. Rather, the effects of the OCP follow from general markedness
Geminates behave differently with respect to phonological changes
compared to their singleton counterparts. Geminates are sometimes
affected by changes that affect singletons (alterability). Examples of
geminate alterability are found in Faroese, Persian, Fula, and Alabama.
The fission of geminates appears to be a counter example to the claim
that markedness universally prefers one segment to two. It is shown
that fission follows from the activity of faithfulness constraints
relativized to the syllable onset. The analysis of fission captures an
asymmetry in fission processes. No fission process creates a cluster
where the initial segment is more faithful to the input than second
In addition to alterability, geminates are sometimes unaffected by
changes that affect singletons (inalterability). Examples of geminate
inalterability include Tiberian Hebrew, Latin, and the restriction of
coda consonants in many languages. Universal inalterability must be an
effect of the constraint responsible for the change in singletons.
Parochial inalterability however, is the result of standard constraint
interaction in an OT grammar.