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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Linguistics Department

UC San Diego

Overapplication Conversion


This squib sheds light on the relationship between two types of overapplication opacity, counterbleeding and self-destructive feeding, by demonstrating how one can be formally converted into the other. This demonstration further clarifies the relation between self-destructive feeding and cross-derivational feeding interactions, which have also been identified as involving overapplication opacity (Baković, 2007; 2011).

Cover page of Comparing Positional Licensing Patterns in HG and OT

Comparing Positional Licensing Patterns in HG and OT


Positional licensing refers to the observation that elements (e.g. particular feature values or feature value combinations) can be limited to specific positions (e.g. syllable onsets, initial syllables, stressed syllables, etc.). Positional licensing patterns have been analyzed using either positional markedness or positional faithfulness constraints in OT and HG. In this paper we demonstrate that the predictions of OT and HG diverge in deep but structured ways once there are more than two licensing positions. We propose an account for this structured divergence based on 3-position systems, and confirm the validity of that account with an analysis of 4-position systems. We also describe how conjoined constraints impact positional licensing patterns, and in doing so provide a counter-example to a claim made in our previous work (Mai & Baković 2020).

Cumulative constraint interaction and the equalizer of OT and HG


We show that, in general, Optimality Theory (OT) grammars containing a restricted family of locally-conjoined constraints (Smolensky 2006) make the same typological predictions as corresponding Harmonic Grammar (HG) grammars. We provide an intuition for the generalization using a simple constrast and neutralization typology, as well as a formal proof. This demonstration adds structure to claims about the (non)equivalence of HG and OT with local conjunction (Legendre et al. 2006, Pater 2016) and provides a tool for understanding how different sets of constraints lead to the same typological predictions in HG and OT.

Cover page of Unbounded circumambient patterns in segmental phonology

Unbounded circumambient patterns in segmental phonology


We present an empirical challenge to Jardine's (2016) assertion that only tonal spreading patterns can be unbounded circumambient, meaning that the determination of a phonological value may depend on information that is an unbounded distance away on both sides. We focus on a demonstration that the ATR harmony pattern found in Tutrugbu is unbounded circumambient, and we also cite several other segmental spreading processes with the same general character. We discuss implications for the complexity of phonology and for the relationship between the explanation of typology and the evaluation of phonological theories.

Cover page of Rule Interaction Conversion Operations

Rule Interaction Conversion Operations


Different types of interactions between pairs of phonological rules can be converted into one another using three formal operations that we discuss in this article. One of these conversion operations, rule re-ordering (here called swapping), is well-known; another, flipping, is a more recent finding (Hein et al., 2014). We introduce a third conversion operation that we call cropping. Formal relationships among the members of the set of rule interactions, expanded by cropping beyond the classical four (feeding, bleeding, counterfeeding, and counterbleeding) to include four more (mutual bleeding, seeding, counterseeding, and merger), are identified and clarified. We show that these conversion operations exhaustively delimit the set of possible pairwise rule interactions predicted by conjunctive rule ordering (Chomsky & Halle, 1968), and that each interaction is related to each of the others by the application of at most two conversion operations.

Cover page of Evidence against interactive effects on articulation in Javanese verb paradigms.

Evidence against interactive effects on articulation in Javanese verb paradigms.


In interactive models of speech production, wordforms that are related to a target form are co-activated during lexical planning, and co-activated wordforms can leave phonetic traces on the target. This mechanism has been proposed to account for phonetic similarities among morphologically related wordforms. We test this hypothesis in a Javanese verb paradigm. In Javanese, one class of verbs is inflected by nasalizing an initial voiceless obstruent: one form of each word begins with a nasal, while its otherwise identical relative begins with a voiceless obstruent. We predict that if morphologically related forms are co-activated during production, the nasal-initial forms of these words should show phonetic traces of their obstruent-initial forms, as compared to nasal-initial wordforms that do not alternate. Twenty-seven native Javanese speakers produced matched pairs of alternating and non-alternating wordforms. Based on an acoustic analysis of nasal resonance and closure duration, we present good evidence against the original hypothesis: We find that the alternating nasals are phonetically identical to the non-alternating ones on both measures. We argue that interactive effects during lexical planning do not offer the best account for morphologically conditioned phonetic similarities. We discuss an alternative involving competition between phonotactic constraints and word-specific phonological structures.

Cover page of In Defense of What(ever) Free Relative Clauses They Dismiss: A Reply to Donati and Cecchetto (2011)

In Defense of What(ever) Free Relative Clauses They Dismiss: A Reply to Donati and Cecchetto (2011)


I argue that the version of phrase structure theory proposed by Donati and Cecchetto (2011) falls short of accounting for the attested patterns of free relative clauses not only in English but crosslinguistically in general. In particular, I show that free relative clauses can be introduced not only by wh-words like what or where, which is what Donati and Cecchetto predict, but also by wh-phrases like what books or whatever books and their equivalents in other languages, which Donati and Cecchetto explicitly predict not to be possible.