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Title:Toward a compositional treatment of positional constraints: The case of positional augmentation
Authors:Jennifer L. Smith
Comment:To appear in A. Carpenter et al., eds. Papers in Optimality Theory II. UMOP.
Abstract:Toward a Compositional Treatment of Positional Constraints:
The Case of Positional Augmentation

Jennifer L. Smith
UNC Chapel Hill
August 28, 2002


Positional constraints -- versions of constraints that are relativized to apply only to certain phonological positions, such as stressed syllables or released consonants -- are frequently employed in phonological analysis. This paper argues that positional constraints, like any other family of related constraints, should be formally modeled as the output of a compositional constraint schema (such as the Generalized Alignment schema in McCarthy & Prince 1993). Specifically, the formulation of any given positional constraint should be automatically and compositionally determined by the formulation of the constraint's non- positional counterpart and the nature of the chosen position. To this end, a particular set of positional constraints, the positional augmentation constraints (markedness constraints relativized to phonologically prominent positions), are examined. A compositional constraint schema is developed that is flexible enough to extend to the many different kinds of positions and constraints involved in positional augmentation, while still determining precisely how the formulation of each general constraint is to be modified in its positional counterpart. Certain implications of the approach for another set of positional constraints, the positional faithfulness constraints, are also considered.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Formal Analysis
Article:Version 1