[Author Login]
Title:Nasalization, Neutral Segments, and Opacity Effects
Authors:Rachel Walker
Comment:1998 UCSC disseration, downloadable by chapter. Spectrograms are not included in chapter 4. For copies of spectrograms, please contact the author
Abstract:Nasalization, Neutral Segments, and Opacity Effects

Rachel Walker

UC Santa Cruz

This thesis explores cross-linguistic variation in nasal harmony. The

goal is to unify our understanding of nasal harmony so that patterns

across languages conform to one basic character and to examine the wider

implications of this account for phonological theory.

The analysis builds on generalizations from a comprehensive survey

documenting variation in three descriptive sets of segments in nasal

harmony: targets, which become nasalized, blockers, which remain oral

and block spreading, and transparent segments, which remain oral but

do not block. The typological generalizations established by this study

provide strong support for a unified view of nasal harmony in which

variation is limited in a hierarchical fashion.

To capture cross-linguistic variation, this analysis draws on a

phonetically-grounded constraint hierarchy ranking segments according

to their incompatibility with nasalization (building on Schourup 1972;

Pulleyblank 1989; Piggott 1992; Cohn 1993c; Padgett 1995c; Walker 1995).

Constraint ranking and violability, fundamental concepts in Optimality

Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993), also play a crucial role. Ranking

a [nasal] spreading constraint at all points in relation to the

hierarchy of violable nasalization constraints achieves precisely the

attested set of patterns.

Another typological discovery is that transparent segments pattern with

targets and should be regarded as belonging to this set of segments. A

theoretical consequence is that [nasal] spreading never skips a segment,

finding new support for strict segmental locality (Ni Chiosain and Padgett

1997; cf. Gafos 1996). The resulting challenge is determining what

produces surface-transparent outcomes. Building on early derivational

approaches (e.g. Clements 1976; Vago 1976), I propose to analyze segmental

transparency as a derivational opacity effect. Following McCarthy (1997)

and extensions by Ito and Mester (1997a), I achieve derivational opacity

effects in Optimality Theory through a correspondence relation between the

actual output and a designated "sympathetic" (failed) member of the

candidate output set. Sympathetic correspondence realizes transparency

by selecting the output most closely resembling the nasal character of the

fully-spread sympathetic form, while respecting nasal incompatibility

constraints for segments that behave transparent. Importantly, by

bringing segmental transparency under the wing of derivational opacity,

transparency-specific representations can be eliminated from the theory.

Chapter 1 presents background. In chapter 2, I develop a unified

description and analysis of a cross-linguistic typology of nasal harmony.

Chapter 3 turns to the analysis of transparent segments and a case study

of nasal harmony in Tuyuca. Chapter 4 presents an acoustic study of nasal

harmony forms in Guarani which verifies that voiceless stops are truly

surface-transparent. In chapter 5 I consider other proposals for the

analysis of transparent segments, and in chapter 6 I examine other

phenomena that may be mistaken for [nasal] feature spreading. Nasal

agreement in Mbe forms a case study involving reduplication.
Article:Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8