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Title:Constraints on the Metathesis of Sonorant Consonants in Judeo-Spanish
Authors:Travis G. Bradley
Abstract:Judeo-Spanish denotes those varieties of Spanish preserved by the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and have emigrated throughout Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the United States. This paper examines three types of consonant metathesis in Judeo-Spanish: daldo < dadlo 'give it', terné 'I will have' < tener 'to have', and tadre < tarde 'late, afternoon'. The first two types are analyzed in terms of syllable contact optimization, following Holt's (2004) Optimality-theoretic analysis of dl and dn metathesis in Old Spanish. Heteromorphemic dm clusters were immune from metathesis in Old Spanish, and the same restriction is found in modern-day Judeo-Spanish: dadme vs. *damde/dande 'give me'. A novel analysis is proposed in which nasal place assimilation and positional faithfulness constraints block dm metathesis across morpheme boundaries. Unlike dl and nr metathesis, transposition of rd clusters in Judeo-Spanish does not result from syllable contact optimization. This innovation is analyzed as an effect of the Obligatory Contour Principle, whereby adjacent segments identical in place, manner, and voicing specifications are prohibited. The analyses developed in this paper highlight the role of constraints on segmental features, which interact with sonority constraints to generate the attested patterns of consonant metathesis. The paper also considers additional metathesis patterns from other languages in light of the proposed analyses, as well as some of the difficulties posed by the Hispano-Romance data with respect to perceptually-based alternative approaches.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonology,Morphology,Historical Linguistics
Article:Version 1