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Title:Minimizing RED: Nasal copy in Mbe
Authors:Rachel Walker
Abstract:Minimizing RED: Nasal copy in Mbe

Rachel Walker

University of California, Santa Cruz

In this paper, I argue that a nasal agreement phenomenon in Mbe

(Benue-Congo, Nigeria; Bamgbose 1971) is a case of reduplication in

which material is copied as a nasal coda to a CV prefix with place

features linked to the following onset; if place-linking fails, no

copy occurs. I demonstrate that this account has important

analytical implications for Mbe and more generally, for the theory of

reduplication in Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993). First,

the place-linked nasal status of the copied segment is independently-

motivated by conditions on Mbe syllable structure. Second, the size

restriction on the reduplicant can be obtained through an atemplatic

alignment constraint, AllSyllableLeft, utilized in a ranking producing

The Emergence of the Unmarked (McCarthy & Prince 1994b; size-restrictor

ranking after Spaelti 1997 building on McCarthy & Prince 1994a; Prince

1996). Further, I show that alternative templatic approaches to the

size restriction are insufficient. Also addressed is the issue of

prespecification in reduplication. Analyzing prefixes exhibiting nasal

agreement in Mbe as reduplicative would seem to require admitting

prespecified segments in reduplication; however, evidence from Mbe

morphology is adduced to show that what appears to be prespecified

material in fact belongs to a separate prefix. The analysis thus

supports the claim that fixed segmentism in reduplication is not

prespecified but is either phonologically-determined (i.e. default)

or morphologically-determined (termed 'melodic overwriting' by

McCarthy & Prince 1986) (McCarthy & Prince 1986, 1990; Urbanczyk

1996a, b; Alderete et al. 1996; Spaelti 1997). A proposal is introduced

to eliminate the emergence of prespecified material in reduplicative

affixes from an extension of the Root-Affix Faith metaconstraint

(McCarthy & Prince 1994a, 1995).

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1