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Title:Phonological Augmentation in Prominent Positions [Dissertation]
Authors:Jennifer L. Smith
Jennifer L. Smith
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Originally filed: May 2002
This version: Revised, December 2002

This dissertation presents a theory of markedness
constraints that apply exclusively to material in
phonologically prominent or 'strong' positions, called
here M/str(ong) constraints. It is proposed that two
substantively based restrictions hold of such constraints.
The first restriction is the Prominence Condition, which
states that the only legitimate M/str constraints are those
whose satisfaction enhances the perceptual prominence of
the strong position in question. For example, an M/str
constraint demanding high-sonority nuclei in the strong
position stressed syllable is legitimate, but a constraint
that simply bans a typologically marked feature value in
some strong position is not. The Prominence Condition
correctly predicts that all M/str constraints are
prominence-enhancing or augmentation constraints.

The second restriction, the Segmental Contrast Condition,
applies to M/str constraints on positions that are strong
for psycholinguistic (as opposed to phonetic) reasons.
This restriction has its basis in the importance of
psycholinguistically strong positions for early-stage
word recognition. It prohibits any M/str constraint from
referring to a psycholinguistically strong position if its
satisfaction would impede early-stage word recognition,
such as by neutralizing segmental feature contrasts (except
for those that improve left-edge demarcation, which
potentially facilitates word recognition). Thus, an
M/str constraint calling for high-sonority nuclei in the
psycholinguistically strong position initial syllable,
despite passing the Prominence Condition, will be banned
by the Segmental Contrast Condition; its satisfaction
neutralizes a segmental contrast that is not at the left

The Prominence Condition and the Segmental Contrast
Condition are formally implemented as filters on the
output of generalized constraint-building schemas,
determining which of the logically possible M/str
constraints are actually included in the universal
constraint set. In an extension of Inductive Grounding
(Hayes 1999a), these and other constraint filters are
viewed as the locus of functional grounding in the formal
phonological system. This Schema/Filter model allows the
constraint set to reflect substantive phonetic and
psycholinguistic factors, while maintaining a view of
phonology as a formal system that manipulates formal
objects — including constraints and the basic phonological
elements from which they are constructed — without
necessarily having access to every fine-grained detail of
articulation, acoustics, perception, and processing.
Article:This article has been withdrawn.