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Title:The Phonological Dimension of Grammatical Markedness
Authors:Cristian Iscrulescu
Abstract:This dissertation explores the correlation between grammatical markedness and the phonological properties of outputs inflected for morpho-syntactic categories on a grammatical markedness hierarchy. The main claim made in the thesis is that, under otherwise similar phonological conditions, outputs carrying specifications for a marked member (g) of a given grammatical category (G) can license a given type of marked phonological structure (M) to an extent that is equal or greater than outputs inflected for the unmarked category.

I label this generalization 'Marked in the Marked' (MIM). Within the theoretical framework assumed for the dissertation (Optimality Theory, Prince and Smolensky 1993/2004), I propose that the universal repository of constraints (CON) be enriched so as to include a family of formal licensing constraints LICENSE(M,g) that license marked phonological structure (M) in output words that carry the morpho-syntactic specifications of the marked member (g) of G. I propose that the licensing constraint is functionally grounded in the sense that the marked value g is determined by recourse to language use factors such as frequency of occurrence in discourse. Only licensing constraints for marked values g are allowed in CON.

The content of the notions 'grammatical markedness' and 'phonological markedness' is reviewed and criteria for the two kinds of markedness are discussed. Manifestations of phonological markedness and their grammatical category underpinnings are discussed at the following levels: prosodic (Old Saxon), segmental (Romanian) and phonotactic (Mayak). For all these cases, the Marked in the Marked constraint schema (in interaction with other relevant constraints) and the factorial typology associated with it are shown to make the correct empirical predictions.

A functional grounding account of the MIM effects discussed in the dissertation is laid out. MIM phenomena are assumed to arise from factors of economy in language production in the sense that confining marked phonological structure to less frequent, grammatically marked forms contributes to minimization of speaker's effort. Also, the presence of marked phonological material in outputs inflected for the marked grammatical category may have certain advantages in language perception, retrieval and acquisition.
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Morphology
Article:Version 1