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Title:The role of phonetic knowledge in phonological patterning: Corpus and survey evidence from Tagalog
Authors:Kie Zuraw
Abstract:A current controversy in phonological theory concerns the explanation of cross-linguistic phonological tendencies. Since Chomsky & Halle 1968, it has generally been assumed that such tendencies are to be explained by mental bias on the part of learners and/or speakers: a pattern is common because it is favored by learners/speakers. But work by Blevins and colleagues in Evolutionary Phonology has argued that many cross-linguistic tendencies can be explained without positing such bias. This means that cross-linguistic tendencies cannot be unproblematically used as evidence about the mental machinery that humans bring to the task of learning and using language.

In response, many researchers have begun looking at different types of data, such as processing, learnability of artificial languages, and literary invention. This paper presents another type of data: extension of native-language phonology to words with novel phonological structure, in this case infixation in Tagalog into loanwords with novel initial consonant clusters. The data come from a written corpus of Tagalog and from a survey. Tagalog speakers' treatment of these clusters parallels cross-linguistic findings of cluster splittability by Fleischhacker. The paper argues that explaining the data requires attributing to Tagalog speakers phonetic knowledge and a bias about how to apply that knowledge.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1