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Title:Contrast and Markedness in Complex Onset Phonotactics
Authors:Travis G. Bradley
Comment:(To appear in Southwest Journal of Linguistics 25.1)
Abstract:In many languages that permit coronal laterals to follow labial and velar stops in complex onsets, sequences of a coronal stop followed by a coronal lateral are prohibited. Standard accounts rule out coronal-lateral clusters as an effect of the Obligatory Contour Principle, but this approach cannot explain languages such as Mong Njua and Katu, which neutralize the coronal-velar place contrast but still allow the coronal-lateral clusters to appear. Recent work in Dispersion Theory (Flemming 1995, 2002, Padgett 2003a,b,c) has argued that Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993/2004) must also include systemic constraints that evaluate phonological forms in the context of the larger system of contrasting forms in a language. This paper offers a new Dispersion-theoretic analysis of restrictions on onset clusters involving laterals. Systemic markedness constraints penalize indistinct coronal-velar contrasts in different pre-lateral contexts. Directionality of neutralization is determined by faithfulness constraints on input place, whose ranking can vary across languages and dialects (Hume 2003, Hume and Tserdandelis 2002). The proposed analysis solves problems with earlier accounts and also encompasses typological patterns from over forty languages, including velarization in early Romance sound change and Mexican Spanish loanword adaptations from Nahuatl.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1