Working paper Open Access

The role of prosody in morphologically governed phonotactic regularities

Zec, Draga

My central concern in this paper is whether restrictions on segment sequencing necessarily mirror prosodically motivated segment distribution. The role of prosody in capturing the distributional regularities may well be less than straightforward in cases of abundant interactions with morphology.

One such case, found in Serbian (Neo-štokavian dialect), is the focus of the present study.

After addressing issues of syllabicity, I turn to syllable weight, focusing on presonorant lengthening: vowel lengthening in syllables closed with a sonorant, encountered only at certain morphological junctures.

I present two analyses of presonorant lengthening. One provides prosodic motivation for this process but depends on a baroque set of opaque constraint interactions. The other interprets presonorant lengthening as a static phonotactic regularity, and includes only transparent constraint interactions.

The former analysis has a considerable advantage over its alternative because of its straightforward nature. Its disadvantage, however, is that presonorant lengthening is left with no prosodic motivation, yet it does bear a clear mark of a prosodically motivated phonological process.

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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