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Title:Exceptionality in Optimality Theory and final consonants in French
Authors:Bernard Tranel
Abstract: Exceptionality in Optimality Theory and final consonants in French


except.rtf, except-rtf.zip

Bernard Tranel

University of California, Irvine

This paper proposes an explanatory restrictive analysis of French

words (e.g. huit 'eight') whose final consonants behave like latent

consonants in liaison contexts (e.g. petit 'small'), but like fixed

consonants elsewhere (e.g. net 'clear'). Previous treatments have

viewed these mixed-behavior words in complete disconnection from the

rest of the grammar, either as arbitrary exceptions to phonological

rules or as requiring special allomorphy statements, thereby

predicting a wide array of unattested dialectal variations. By

contrast, the OT approach proposed here accurately depicts the actual

narrow space within which the pronunciation of these special words may

be found. The analysis is based on free suppletion, with the

language's independently motivated Constraint Hierarchy governing the

distribution of the multiple phonological representations. The account

crucially relies on tier-dependent alignment and two satellite

hypotheses regarding Constraint Ranking (the Ranking Cluster

Condition, which states that variably ranked constraints behave as a

cluster in terms of constraint ranking, and the Constraint Hierarchies

Acquisition Principle, which proposes that the task of a child in

learning a given Constraint Hierarchy is basically to demote

constraints when there is positive evidence to do so).

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1