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The Consequences of Dissimilation in Sundanese

Cohn, Abigail C.

We have examined in some detail the formal properties of the plural marker =ar= of
Sundanese. We have considered both its behavior as an infix and the allomorphic
alternation between the =ar= and =al= variants. The unusual property of the plural marker,
whereby it usually appears as an infix, but can also occur as a prefix, results in maximizing
preferred syllable types.

Its placement is accounted for straightforwardly within a moraic framework, in which the affix is located before the first mora of the root.  The allomorphy of the plural marker involves both assimilation and dissimilation, accounted for in the proposed analysis by three rules:

  1. /r/ Dissimilation
  2. Lateral Node Merger and
  3. Lateral Assimilation.

The facts of Sundanese are compatible with the current view of dissimilation as delinking and subsequent feature fill in. Yet Sundanese provides strong evidence that dissimilation does not always result in less marked segments as had been previously suggested. Furthermore the case of Sundanese lends further support in favor of Contrastive Underspecification, rather than Radical Underspecification.

Finally, examination of the general phonological patterns of Sundanese reveals that Sundanese offers clear support for the view that dissimilation is an OCP driven process, in that both the rule of /r/ Dissimilation and more general phonotactic patterns behave alike.

This paper is copyrighted, and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) - see
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