[Author Login]
Title:The emergence of contrastive palatalization in Russian
Authors:Jaye Padgett
Comment:To appear in Eric Holt, ed., Optimality Theory and Language Change, Kluwer Academic Press
Abstract:The well-known contrast in Russian between palatalized
and non-palatalized consonants originated roughly one
thousand years ago. At that time consonants were
allophonically palatalized before front vowels. When the
‘jer’ (high, lax) vowels disappeared in certain
positions, the palatalization formerly triggered by the
front jer remained, leading to a palatalization contrast
across most consonant types. At the same time or soon
thereafter, a rule is said to have been established by
which /i/ surfaced as central (barred i) after
non-palatalized consonants. This paper analyzes these
two sound changes within a version of Dispersion Theory
(DT, Flemming 1995a) elaborated by Ní Chiosáin & Padgett
(2001) and Padgett (1997, to appear). DT differs from
other current models of phonology in its fundamentally
systemic orientation: constraints evaluate not only
isolated forms as is usual, but sets of forms in
contrast. References to these systems of contrast is key
to the statement of constraints governing the perceptual
distinctiveness of contrasts on the one hand, and
constraints directly penalizing merger (neutralization)
on the other. The analysis of the Russian facts here
illustrates how this theory works, and provides an
explanation for the otherwise mysterious allophonic
/i/-backing rule, and for the historical emergence of
this rule as a consequence of the loss of the jers.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Phonology,Historical Linguistics
Article:This article has been withdrawn.