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Title:Markedness and the Development of Prosodic Structure
Authors:Katherine Demuth
Abstract: Markedness and the Development of Prosodic Structure



Katherine Demuth

Brown University

To appear in NELS 25

It has long been noted that children's early words are truncated in form,

and that those forms show a certain degree of variability in shape. In

this paper I show how the prosodic development of children's early words

can be naturally accounted for in terms of prosodic constraints on output

form. Critically, I assume that children's segmental representations of

lexical items are full from the beginning, but that early emergence of

unmarked prosodic structures (e.g. Core Syllables and Minimal Words),

combined with the low initial ranking of PARSE conspire to yield early word

structures that differ from adult target forms in a principled manner. I

conclude by showing how a given constraint ranking can provide an account

of variability in form at a given point in time, whereas a shift in

constraint ranking is needed to account for development over time. In so

doing, I demonstrate how the process of language acquisition can be thought

of as an optimization problem, and how OT might be adapted to provide for a

theory of both competence and performance.

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1