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Title:The Gradient OCP - Tonal Evidence from Swedish
Authors:Heli Harrikari
Abstract:Heli Harrikari
University of Helsinki

It is well known that languages have a tendency to avoid sequences of
adjacent identical elements, a pattern called the Obligatory Contour
Principle (OCP, Leben 1973, 1978, 1980; McCarthy 1979, 1986). Numerous
studies have demonstrated and analyzed the realizations of the OCP at
various levels of the phonological representation, as well as provided
tools for deriving the OCP effects in different theoretical frameworks.
This paper participates in the discussion on the nature of the OCP by
demonstrating how both parameters of the OCP, adjacency and similarity,
must be seen as gradient phenomena. Evidence will be provided from
tonal patterns encountered in the phonology-syntax interface in Swedish;
more specifically, from patterns which arise when the sentence-level
focus tone and a lexical tone are brought together into a context which
contains not enough space for both of them to surface. This paper shows,
through an Optimality Theoreric analysis (OT, Prince & Smolensky,
McCarthy & Prince 1993a), how the general definition of the OCP is
insufficient, and how the restriction against adjacent identical elements
is, in fact, a combination of a set of sub-constraints, which concern
both adjacency and similarity, and which together reflect the gradient
nature of the OCP. Only by evaluating the OCP in the gradient manner,
can an answer be offered for the question of why part of a lexical tone
disappears or changes the register in certain focal contexts.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1