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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Linguistics Research Center supports and facilitates research on the phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics of languages, particularly those that differ significantly from English in structure. It publishes a working-paper series, sponsors research colloquia, and hosts longer visits to the campus by international scholars. Founded in 1981, the center is housed in Stevenson College and fully integrated into the Department of Linguistics. Current research projects include the typology of noun phrases, the syntax and semantics of indefinites, the phonological structure of the lexicon, morphosyntactic markedness and typology in optimality theory, featural representations in optimality theory, and morphological parsing.

Cover page of On the Peripatetic Behavior of Aspiration in Sanskrit Roots

On the Peripatetic Behavior of Aspiration in Sanskrit Roots


This paper deals with Grassmann's and Bartholomae's Laws in Sanskrit. The former has the effect of distributing aspiration inside a root. The second accounts for the progressive assimilation of voicing and aspiration. Grassmann's Law, for example, is responsible for the alternation between bodh-ati '3rd sg. pres. ind' of the root /bhaudh/ 'know, wake' and bhot-sya-ti '3rd sg. fut'. In the former aspiration appears on the final consonant of the root while in the latter it appears on the initial consonant of the root. Grassmann's Law is intended to account for this migratory behavior. Bartholomae's Law, on the other hand, is intended to account for what happens in the form buddha 'past participle' from /bhudh + ta/ where in addition to progressive voicing assimilation, aspiration migrates from the root final consonant to the following consonant.

Cover page of Chains as Unfaithful Optima

Chains as Unfaithful Optima


Optimality Theory is a theory of the economy of constraint violation. Can this property of the theory be exploited in our understanding of economy effects in general? Can economy of structure and movement be derived without reference to economy of structure and movement? The central idea of this paper is that the choice between filling positions by movement and filling positions with independent material is determined by markedness and faithfulness constraints. There is no 'economy of movement' constraint, just economy of movement effects. Economy of movement follows from the theory of what a chain is.

Cover page of Absence of Stress Culmination and Prosodic Phrasing

Absence of Stress Culmination and Prosodic Phrasing


Current OT analyses of prosodic phrasing are unable to capture Chichewa’s prosody which under specific focus contexts appears to allow for multiple instances of prosodic culmination within a single prosodic phrase. As this paper shows, rather than providing a counter example to the universal validity of current prosodic constraints, Chichewa’s lack of culmination follows from them once Truckenbrodt’s StressXP constraint is generalized to intonational and utterance phrases. The same quest for universal validity also imposes a finer tuning of head-alignment constraints, which must become sensitive to the distinction between realized and unrealized head positions, and a weaker condition on the prosodic prominence of focus, which need only match the highest prominence available among the constituents in the focus domain rather than exceed it as currently maintained.

Cover page of Elsewhere Effects in Optimality Theory

Elsewhere Effects in Optimality Theory


My goal in this paper is to demonstrate how the basic logic of constraint ranking in Optimality Theory (OT; Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004) directly predicts the disjunctive application of processes in an 'elsewhere' relationship without the need for a separate principle like the Elsewhere Condition (the EC; Anderson 1969, 1974, Kiparsky 1973) and its attendant problems of formulation in the theory of ordered string-rewriting rules (SPE; Chomsky & Halle 1968). The various details of the empirically correct ormulation of the EC (Halle 1995, Halle & Idsardi 1997) that must be independently stipulated in SPE all fall out as a necessary consequence of constraint ranking logic in OT.

Cover page of Learning from Paradigmatic Information

Learning from Paradigmatic Information


Paradigmatic information is information requiring knowledge of morphological identity across words. It consists of the phonological consequences of knowing that a morpheme must have a single phonological underlying form, even if it surfaces differently in different words. There are two basic forms of paradigmatic information. One is morphemic alternation: the surface realizations of a single morpheme in different morphological contexts (a context consists of the other morphemes used to form the word). The other is morphemic contrast: the surface realizations of two different morphemes in the same morphological context.

Paradigmatic information is necessary for phonological learning. This can be demonstrated with a constructed linguistic system in which several distinct languages, with distinct mappings, have identical inventories of surface phonological forms. To learn the full phonology, the learner must utilize paradigmatic information: that is the only information that can distinguish the different phonotactically identical phonologies.

Cover page of On Theoretical Facts and Empirical Abstractions

On Theoretical Facts and Empirical Abstractions


My goal is to argue the merits of a type of work that is somewhat rare in linguistics, and to illustrate this kind of work in three domains: phonological inventories and conjunctive constraint interaction, non-participating segments in vowel harmony, and the general nature of phonological categories like 'possible word of language L'.

Cover page of Towards a Uniform Account of Prominence-Sensitive Stress

Towards a Uniform Account of Prominence-Sensitive Stress


Although various phenomena are often included under the general heading of prominence-sensitive stress, weight sensitivity and sonority sensitivity are the canonical examples. In weight-sensitive systems, stress is attracted to syllables with a greater number of moras at the expense of syllables with a lesser number. In sonority-sensitive systems, stress is attracted to syllables containing vowels of greater sonority at the expense of syllables containing vowels of lesser sonority. In this article, I will first develop an analysis of weight sensitivity, and then I will extend the analysis to sonority sensitivity. The aim is to provide a general and uniform account of both phenomena.

Cover page of Association Faith and Korean Palatalization

Association Faith and Korean Palatalization


The current effort will advance the notion that faithfulness to underlying structural relationships (Frel) may be relativized to homomorphemic strings only (HOMFrel). Under the appropriate ranking with markedness constraints this approach allows us to capture the facts of such phenomena as KPA much in the spirit of Kiparsky's original observation, that alternations may be blocked from application in non-derived environments, within a fully parallel OT.

Cover page of Indulgentia Parentum Filiorum Pernicies: Lexical Allomorphy in Latin and Japanese

Indulgentia Parentum Filiorum Pernicies: Lexical Allomorphy in Latin and Japanese


Languages are replete with cases of lexical allomorphy. Their characteristic property is that the distribution of allomorphs is explicable on general phonological grounds, but no actual phonological rule exists in the grammar of the language that would derive both from the same underlying representation. In this note, we take up the two cases mentioned above, the historically matured allomorphy of the Latin noun-forming endings and the newly emerging allomorphy of the plurality marker in Japanese loanwords. From a variety of evidence characterized as 'prosodic trapping', Mester 1994 argues that the optimal foot structure of Latin is the bimoraic balanced trochee, ('LL) (two light syllables) or ('H) (one heavy syllable). Crucially, in a quantitative system, the unbalanced ('HL) and ('LH) do not qualify as trochees, and neither does ('L). In this restricted foot inventory, light syllables are often prosodically trapped initially: #L(H)..., and medially between heavy syllables: ...(H)L(H)....

Cover page of Is There Such a Thing as Animal Phonology?

Is There Such a Thing as Animal Phonology?


The issue of whether language is the result of mechanisms that are specifically human, and specific to language, has been publicly discussed in a recent series of papers in Science and in Cognition. Hauser, Chomsky and Fitch (2002) and again in Fitch, Hauser and Chomsky (2005) argue that recursion is the only mechanism that qualifies on both counts, and they call this the Faculty of Language in the Narrow sense (FLN), in contrast to the Faculty of Language in the Broad sense (FLB). In the later 2005 paper, they say (p.200): "much of phonology is likely part of FLB, not FLN, either because phonological mechanisms are shared with other cognitive domains (notably music and dance), or because the relevant phenomena appear in other species, particularly bird and whale 'song'."

My goal in this squib is to ponder on what it is, as a phonologist, I would take to be core properties of phonological systems, and then ask which, if any, are known to be found outside humans, and which are known to be absent in at least some non-human animals.