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Title:Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints in Child Phonology
Authors:Amalia E. Gnanadesikan
Comment:Revised version Nov. 29, 1995. Second file is a landscape tableau meant to replace a page in the paper
Abstract:Markedness and Faithfulness Constraints in Child Phonology

Amalia E. Gnanadesikan

UMass, Amherst and Rutgers U.


This paper applies Optimality Theory to child phonology, proposing

that the difference between child and adult phonology lies in the

relative rankings of constraints against markedness and

constraints demanding faithfulness to the input. In the child's

initial state the markedness constraints outrank faithfulness

constraints. As acquisition progresses the appropriate faithfulness

constraints are promoted. The paper examines the treatment of

syllable onsets in an intermediate stage phonology. The markedness

constraints are still more highly ranked than in the target language,

although many of them are now dominated by certain faithfulness

constraints. Some are still undominated, so that, for example, no

onset clusters are allowed. Other markedness constraints are

dominated, but still highly enough ranked to display Emergence of the

Unmarked where the target English does not. For example, the OCP,

operating on sequences of labial consonant plus round vowel, plays a

crucial role in selecting the output of certain clusters where the

dominating faithfulness constraints can be rendered irrelevant. Such

examples of Emergence of the Unmarked in child phonology provide

evidence for the reranking of constraints within Optimality Theory as

the proper model for the acquistion of phonology.

Comments Welcome

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Part 1
Part 2