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Title:Lexically Ranked OCP-Place Constraints in Muna
Authors:Andries W Coetzee, Joe Pater
Abstract:In this paper, we analyze the consonant co-occurrence restrictions in the Austronesian language Muna, showing that, as in Arabic homorganic consonants are underrepresented. However, we also show that the Muna differs from Arabic - in Muna, [voice] plays a much more important role. We analyze the Muna restrictions within Optimality Theory, using OCP-PLACE constraints relativized to [voice], [continuant], and [sonorant]. We claim that these constraints are ranked according the frequency with which they are violated in the lexicon. Interspersed amongst these OCP-PLACE constraints are lexically specific faithfulness constraints. We show how such a grammar can be used to explain gradient phonological well-formedness judgments that correspond to.frequency statistics calculated over the lexicon. Nonce words do not have a lexical indexation, and when the grammar evaluates a non-word, it considers the nonce word under all possible indexations. The nonce word is assigned a well-formedness score based on the number of indexations under which it would be parsed faithfully. We also show how a grammar that is sensitive to lexical frequency can be learned using a slightly augmented version of the Biased Constraint Demotion algorithm (Prince and Tesar 2004). Lastly, we show that the Muna data are problematic for the general similarity avoidance model of Frisch et al. (2004).

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1